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After President Obama used his weekly address to call on Congress to extend unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans — including 20,000 veterans — who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered the counterpoint on Fox News Sunday.

“I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers,” he said. “When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the extension would save 300,000 jobs. In just the first two months of fiscal year 2014, the federal deficit is already down $61 billion.

While the unemployment rate is at a five-year low, millions are out of work and the long-term unemployed are suffering the most as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows.

11-20-13ui-f3

 

Typically, long-term benefits are not cut until the long-term unemployment rate is around 1.3 percent. It is currently more than double that.

Economist Justin Wolfers demonstrated that cutting extended benefits was heretofore unheard of, with this chart:

He clarified his point with this note:

Rand Paul Fox News Sunday

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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