Extend Jobless Benefits Now!

The New York Times' editorial on the need for more stimulus measures is very, very good. They don't grapple with a tax credit for new hires, or a payroll tax cut, which would fill the pockets of both employers and employees. But that's OK. We've debated those measures before on this page, and we'll debate them again. But NYT editorial gets the big thing right: We need to extend unemployment benefits and we need to do it now.

The editors:

The Senate could take a step in the right direction by extending unemployment benefits without further delay. That is the single most effective way to boost consumption -- which, in turn, preserves jobs -- because it creates spending that would otherwise not occur.

That's exactly right, but the important thing is that the stimulus goes to all the states. The first House bill would have only extended benefits in states with high unemployment, which is nuts because, as Barbara Kiviat pointed out:

"a person living in Wenatchee, Washington would get an extra 13 weeks of benefits. The unemployment rate in Wenatchee is 5.9%. Meanwhile, a person living in McAllen, Texas, where the unemployment rate is 11.6%, would not get any additional benefits. That's because 8.9% of workers in Washington are unemployed, while 8.1% of those in Texas are"

Fortunately the Senate plan would extend benefits in all states and extend them even further in states with especially high unemployment.