The Corner

The Neverending Emergency Unemployment-Check Stimulus

The latest unfunded unemployment-benefits extension has not yet passed the Senate (though the replacement of Sen. Robert Byrd with another Democrat has cleared the way for that to happen today); nevertheless, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is already telling us the administration plans to push for another extension in November:

… Gibbs defended the president’s approach, calling unemployment benefits “emergency spending” at a time when the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent. Asked whether that same mindset would hold true at the end of November, when the soon-to-be-passed round of unemployment benefits expire, Gibbs replied:

“I think it is fair and safe to assume that we are not going to wake up and find ourselves at the end of November at a rate of employment one would not consider to be an emergency.”

Flashback to just before Memorial Day, when the House was debating its version of the legislation: A handful of Democrats from the Blue Dog coalition initially balked at the cost of the bill, so Pelosi scaled back the unemployment-benefits extension by one month in order to make the price tag look smaller. We know the Blue Dogs always cave when it matters, but their acquiescence in the scale-back charade set a new standard for caving. Gibbs’s comments verify what conservatives said at the time: Pulling back the expiration date on these bills doesn’t actually reduce their price tags. It merely reduces the time that passes between one stimulus and the next.

Most Popular

Books

Why Is Lin-Manuel Miranda Throwing Away His Shot?

Everybody needs a vacation, and after Hamilton maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda needed one more than most. At some point, though, relaxing becomes loafing. Miranda has a wonderful gift, but what he’s done with it lately is unconscionable. This week marks four years since Miranda’s musical masterpiece Hamilton ... Read More