The Benefits Debate

Like most analysts, Josh Barro approves of extending unemployment benefits:

We could eliminate these fears [of structural dependency] by making Unemployment Insurance adjustment an automatic, rather than political, process. I haven’t seen any specific formulas proposed (if a reform is on the table, readers, please alert me) but in general UI should be extended when unemployment is high and/or rising, and contracted when it is low and/or falling. A formulaic adjustment program could mimic what Congress habitually does already, but without generating market uncertaintyor incurring risk that Congress will be too timid to pull the trigger on abbreviating UI benefits in recovery.