The solution to two of the country's most pressing economic woes may come down to a very simple idea: renting a bunch of moving vans. Those vans could help relocate some of the more than 3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months to states with relatively low unemployment rates, such as Texas and North Dakota. Or the vans could transport entire families to places where low-income kids historically have a better chance of moving up the income ladder as they age.
The concept of encouraging unemployed workers to move enjoys bipartisan support. Back in February, a tea-party Republican from South Carolina and a California Democrat introduced a House bill to give the long-term unemployed vouchers worth up to $10,000 to move at least 60 miles away from home for serious job offers. The main condition? The new location would need to have an unemployment rate much lower than the area the person left.
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, supports a similar idea. He wants the Labor Department to award low-interest relocation loans to the long-term unemployed. "There is a barrier because people who are unemployed don't have the resources to be able to relocate, and this is something that would allow them to do that," Thune said in January during a press call.