Congress not a charity

Annually, your auto insurer sets your premium, in exchange for which they offer to pay you the cost of any repairs, less a “deductible.”

Let’s suppose the Congress now enacts a bill that says no matter what your insurance company pays you, the taxpayers will hand you an extra thousand dollars after each accident.

That would be nuts. It would be vastly expensive, and create a perverse incentive for people to go out and have more “accidents” in order to collect those $1,000 “bonus checks.”

Most employers are required by state law to use a portion of their payroll funds to buy unemployment insurance (a mandate which creates another disincentive to create new jobs, but that’s a topic for another day.)

This pools a fund out of which laid-off workers can be paid a stipend for a fixed time while they’re seeking new work.

The House of Representatives Wednesday rejected a bill to “extend unemployment benefits” at the expense of the taxpayer.

Why is it the first proposal above can so easily be seen as wacky and perverse, while responsible representatives who voted against a taxpayer hand-out to those who have used up their stipulated unemployment benefits are now likely to be criticized for “callous indifference to the pain of the unemployed”?

Job changes can be traumatic. But statistics show the ability of unemployed workers to ‘find a job” — often read “accept something other than their ideal job” — improves enormously as their benefits expire.

Voters should support as best they can an organization that coordinates voluntary donations for the unfortunate.

But in most jurisdictions that organization is called “The United Way” — not “The U.S. Congress.”

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