Class Warfare Blog

July 6, 2013

Follow-up on Rational Decision Making

I noticed in the news that the Great State of North Carolina has decided that unemployment benefits need to be cut as they encourage people to not work. According to the New York Times (by Alan Blinder July 1, 2013): “The far-reaching changes enacted by the Republican-controlled legislature in February decreased the maximum benefit payout by more than one-third, which will result in a decline in the average weekly benefit, making the state ineligible for about $700 million in federal aid. The measure also reduced the number of weeks residents can receive unemployment aid.”

“I noticed in the news that the Great State of North Carolina has decided
that unemployment benefits need to be cut as they encourage people to not work.

The average unemployment benefit in North Carolina for the first quarter of 2013 was $298.90 a week, according to the United States Department of Labor but beginning in July, North Carolina will slash the maximum number of weeks a jobless worker can collect unemployment insurance from 26 to as few as 12 (even though the average length of joblessness is 35 weeks). The new law would also reduce the maximum weekly benefit from $530 to $350 per person.

I don’t know about you, but I am a retired teacher living on a pension and I pay more than $400 per week for housing and utilities.

So, North Carolina’s Republicans so desperately want to prove their point that they are willing to shrug off 700,000,000 federal dollars in state aid to do so. Certainly they have the courage of their convictions.

This, of course, forms what economists call a “natural experiment” that should shed light on whether the Republicans are right in their belief . . . or not. Not that Republicans are interested in factual outcomes, but if not those, then maybe it will be elections they become more interested in.

We are watching.




  1. Are there actual jobs out there for these people to engage in? If not how does the GOP feel that reducing unemployment benefits will make this happen? If there are no jobs and you reduce benefits, who pays for the health care and funeral services that increase as more people go without?


    Comment by lbwoodgate — July 6, 2013 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

    • Well, now that’s a reasoned argument. Fact is there are not enough jobs and the health care cost will be met through emergency room “freebies,” meaning all of us, or won’t be met at all.

      This is a triumph of ideology over reason, of belief over knowledge. Which makes the outcome far from certain because, well, denial is not just a river in Egypt any more.


      Comment by stephenpruis — July 6, 2013 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  2. Let’s hope these Republican lawmakers lose their jobs in the next election and have to live on the same unemployment benefits they just cut.


    Comment by List of X — July 6, 2013 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

    • I am trying hard to not return their spitefulness with the same. I guess I wish them enlightenment … and if that doesn’t work, I like your alternative.


      Comment by stephenpruis — July 7, 2013 @ 8:02 am | Reply

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