Paul, who's openly considering a bid for president in 2016, said in a Friday interview with NBC News that extending unemployment benefits past 26 weeks will hurt workers -- and that paying for it without raising taxes weakens America. "Does it make sense for our country to borrow money from China to give it to the unemployed in America? That is weakening us as a country," Paul told NBC News.
Imagine a study that asked doctors whether they thought a patient who'd been under treatment for a serious illness for four weeks was more or less likely to survive than a patient under treatment for a serious illness for 99 weeks. Of course the doctors would say the patient under treatment for 99 weeks was less likely to survive. Paul would look at that study and argue for removing the treatment from the patient who'd been sick for 99 weeks. After all, doctors thought it made the patient less likely to survive!
The problem for the long-term unemployed isn't that their lavish government checks keep them from wanting jobs. It's that they can't get jobs -- in part because they're unemployed. And that makes them even less likely to get jobs in the future. The long-term unemployed are slowly becoming unemployable. The federal government could move aggressively to put them back to work. It could hire them directly as teacher's aides and park rangers. It could pass a large tax cut for employers who hire new workers and an even larger one for employers who hire the unemployed. It could invest hundreds of billions in infrastructure repair.