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Some harsh reality about extended unemployment benefits

Quick show of hands: How many of you think it’s OK for a parent to do their child’s homework?

Oh, good. Only a few of you.

Most of us recognize that while parents who do their kid’s homework are well-intentioned, they’re not really doing their kids any favors. Because while in the short-term they’ve kept their young ‘un from getting into hot water the next day in class, they’ve also kept them from learning an important real-life lesson; that actions have consequences.

A similar situation is playing out in Congress, where the Senate recently voted to restore federally funded “emergency” unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for up to 99 weeks. Which for those who are math-challenged because your parents did your homework for you, is almost two full years.

By comparison, when extended UI was first implemented by FDR, the benefits only lasted for 16 weeks. Talk about mission creep!

And while those who voted for this extended UI bill are well-intentioned, they’re not doing the unemployed, or President Obama’s slumbering economy, any favors. In fact, they’re actually hurting the very people we’re trying to help. Indeed, figures show that 1/3 of the unemployed find jobs at right around the same time their benefits run out.

Go figure.

Patrick Gleason, writing recently in Forbes.com, noted that North Carolina was “the only state in the country that declined to extend long-term unemployment benefits last year.” And guess what?

“The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent in July of 2013, the month extended federal unemployment benefits ended in North Carolina, to 6.4 percent in February of this year.”

A similar scenario is now playing out nationally after extended UI benefits expired in December. In fact, the latest unemployment figures show that some 500,000 new people started looking for jobs in March, and most of them found one.

Well, what do you know! Once you knock people off the gravy train, lo and behold, they somehow find a way to feed themselves. Who’d a thunk it?

Of course, there are those who will tell you we have to extend UI benefits because “there are no jobs out there.” Bull.

I can’t tell you how many business owners and managers tell me that they’re hiring but can’t find people to take the jobs. Why? Well for one reason, why work when you can get paid by the government NOT to work?

Time for a little tough love.

If you’re unemployed, unless you have a true physical or mental handicap, the only thing keeping you from working, either for someone else or yourself, is you. So stop making excuses and stop relying on Uncle Sam to do your homework for you.

As for Congress, it’s time for mother bird to start kicking some chicks out of the nest.

Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.MuthsTruths.com

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