Originally posted on April 6, 2010.
Due to Congress’ inability to pass a resolution by unanimous consent, extended unemployment benefits will likely temporarily expire for 200,000 Americans. Congress attempted to pass this so-called emergency extension of unemployment benefits before Easter break. However, Sen. Coburn (R-OK) blocked the $10 billion because the costs were not offset and it would add to our federal deficit. In Sen. Coburn’s own words,
The legitimate debate is whether we borrow and steal from our kids or we get out of town and send the bill to our kids for something that we’re going to consume today.
His remarks sound similar to Sen. Bunning (R-KY) who blocked unpaid unemployment benefits in January because,
We can’t do everything we’d like to do. We don’t have the money.
Sen. Coburn wishes to extend unemployment benefits by using unspent “stimulus” funds. On the other hand, Democratic Senators want to extend unemployment benefits by increasing government spending which will certainly add to the federal deficit.
Some have referred to Sen. Coburn’s decision to block the unemployment benefit extension as heartless or cruel to those currently out of work. However, this is not the case. Sen. Coburn and Bunning merely are asking that the cost of unemployment benefits be offset with a decrease in spending somewhere else. To compromise, they wish to shift taxpayer money from a wasteful government program and grant it to laid-off employees unable to find work so that it does not increase our deficit.
While voluntarily giving money or other assistance to those out of work is honorable, it is not compassionate to force taxpayers to help someone out while continuing to add to the federal deficit. As economics professor Walter Williams states,
Reaching into one’s own pockets to assist his fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pockets to do so is despicable and deserves condemnation.
It is dangerous to continuously extend unemployment benefits that are not paid for without any regard to the taxpayers or future generations. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Congressional Budget Office found that if trends continue, America will be facing soaring levels of debt. According to CBO reports, the national debt will reach 63 percent of GDP this year. In addition, within the next decade, Obama’s budget will add $10 trillion to the national debt and the debt will reach 90 percent of GDP.
It is important to look at the long-term effects of constantly extending unemployment benefits. When the lawmakers return from Easter Break on April 12, it is likely that unemployment benefits will be extended beyond 99 weeks to add $10 billion more to our federal deficit. At what point will Congress learn that tough choices need to be made in order to protect our children’s future quality of life? Visit FreedomWorks’ War Room to demand that your Congressman take action to control America’s spiraling federal deficit which threatens our way of life.