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Monday, July 1, 2013

Paul Krugman, "War On the Unemployed": What Isn't Krugman Telling You?

And yet another JG Caesarea Challenge Round!

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "War On the Unemployed" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/opinion/krugman-the-war-on-the-unemployed.html?_r=0), Paul Krugman blames hard-hearted Republicans for slashing North Carolina's unemployment benefits. Krugman writes:

"Consider, for example, the case of North Carolina. The state was hit hard by the Great Recession, and its unemployment rate, at 8.8 percent, is among the highest in the nation, higher than in long-suffering California or Michigan. As is the case everywhere, many of the jobless have been out of work for six months or more, thanks to a national environment in which there are three times as many people seeking work as there are job openings.

Nonetheless, the state’s government has just sharply cut aid to the unemployed. In fact, the Republicans controlling that government were so eager to cut off aid that they didn’t just reduce the duration of benefits; they also reduced the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid to the long-term unemployed."

Okay, so what isn't Krugman telling you?

As reported in a Huffington Post article entitled "North Carolina Dropped From Federal Unemployment Program" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/28/north-carolina-unemployment_n_3515448.html) by Emery P. Dalesio :

"With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless.

State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt. Like many states, North Carolina had racked up the debt by borrowing from Washington after its unemployment fund was drained by jobless benefits during the Great Recession.

. . . .

Supporters of the new North Carolina law say the reduced benefits and increased business taxes are necessary to repay the federal debt – the third-largest in the country."

The third largest federal debt in the country? How would Krugman have North Carolina repay this debt? It can't print its own money like the federal government.

Also consider North Carolina's unfunded retiree health care benefits totaling some $34 billion (see: http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2012/Pew_Pensions_Update.pdf).

Everyone is in favor of more jobs and a safety-net for the poor; however, sometimes there is simply no more juice to squeeze out of the orange.

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