Today’s Questions for the President

by Peter Kirsanow

Yesterday, your press secretary, Jay Carney, asserted that extension of unemployment benefits has a ”direct, measurable impact on job creation,” creating up to a million new jobs and approximately 0.5 percent in economic growth.

Do you maintain that if unemployment benefits are extended to more people, the economy will grow more? Even assuming that to be true, is there no point of diminishing returns?

The unemployment rate has been above 9 percent in 25 of the last 27 months with  long-term payment of unemployment benefits during much of that period.  Under Carney’s analysis, shouldn’t the economy be growing at a faster rate than 1.3 percent? Or do you contend that without extending unemployment benefits the GDP growth rate would only be 0.8 percent?

If extending unemployment benefits has a direct, measurable impact on job creation, precisely how many jobs have been created as a result and in what industries? Also, if the extension of unemployment benefits has such a salutary effect on job creation, why is long-term unemployment at the highest rate since the Great Depression?

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