Unemployment Benefits Are One Of ‘Most Effective Forms Of Stimulus.’ So Why Don’t We Have More?

Another attempt to keep unemployment checks flowing to those who need them failed in the Senate Wednesday, just one vote shy of what the governing body needed to pass the measure.

The Washington Independent took a look at why these votes keep failing even though nobody disagrees that unemployment checks are one of the most effective forms of stimulus. (In fact, economists estimate that $1.61 in stimulus is generated for every dollar sent out in that unemployment check.) The oh-so-obvious answer: politics.

Americans, your everyday working Americans, support unemployment benefits. Democrats support them. Even Republicans support them, but they don’t support deficit spending to pay for them.

Unfortunately, that’s the wrong approach: John Irons, the research and policy director of the Economic Policy Institute, told Congress that unemployment should be at 6 percent or lower before you start worrying about how you’re going to pay for things. “In fact, with unemployment hovering near 10 percent and with projections putting unemployment at elevated levels for at least the next couple of years, further job creation is indeed necessary,” he said.

Senate staffers say that after Sen. Robert Byrd’s replacement starts work, they will try again to pass the bill. And when it passes, that will be the last one. No Tier V, no follow-up extension. That will be it.