Where Most Analysts Agree

Howard Gleckman scores the unemployment benefits fight:

It is true...that those receiving benefits are somewhat less likely to accept a job offer than those whose aid has run out. However, most researchers find this effect is small, especially when jobs are very hard to get, as they are now. With work so scarce, few will turn down a job offer for the temporary pleasures of $300-a-week.

The funding argument is even harder to swallow.

I’d be more sympathetic with these new converts to fiscal responsibility if they were as enthusiastic about paying for extending $32 billion worth of special interest tax breaks as they are about funding the unemployment extension. If I understand correctly, these lawmakers insist that Congress fund every dime of added jobless aid, which nearly all analysts agree will help boost the economy. But they feel no need to pay for continuing these special interest tax breaks, which will not. They fret about unemployed workers who allegedly game the system to get jobless benefits but seem undisturbed by those businesses and individuals who do the same to maximize their tax subsidies. Politics is indeed a funny business.

Covering similar ground, Dylan Matthews researches the economic impact of unemployment benefits.