Looks like Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) was a no and the Maine ladies were yeses, as expected.
My two cents on the unemployment extensions? I’m torn. At some point these “emergency extensions” will start to look (if they don’t already) a lot like a backdoor return to pre-1996 welfare policies. And as a twenty-something with a number of unemployed buddies, I see firsthand that there is merit to the argument that open-ended extensions discourage job-seeking (friends: you know who you are!).
But hey, there is also a 5:1 job-seeker-to-job ratio and the current political dispositions of the United States Congress make it highly unlikely that effective, pro-growth, revenue-neutral stimulus will be forthcoming. So these ad hoc extensions seem to me, at least, not the worst thing we could do.
I also agree with my colleague-in-surname, J. D. Foster, and others who say the extensions can probably be justified on humanitarian grounds alone.
But, at the end of the day, you can’t get something for nothing. The extensions should be paid for. As I tweeted to Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday, in response to some bit of misinformation she (or presumably, one of her staffers) had blasted out in to the ether –
Madame Speaker, all due respect, pay for the goddam extensions, or tell voters what they really are: loans with interest.
I’m still waiting for her response.
UPDATE: Good one from a reader:
My question for Nancy Pelosi would be “If you really believe unemployment benefits ‘creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can think of,’” then why won’t you agree to use unspent stimulus funds to pay for them? Creating jobs is what the stimulus was for, wasn’t it?”