Heartless, clueless, and confused

Posted: 6 July 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Paul Krugman gets this one right: benefits for the long-term unemployed have been allowed to expire because the Senate is ruled by a coalition of the heartless, the clueless, and the confused.

I’ve criticized Krugman a number of times (including, most recently, for missing the link between inequality and crisis). But his column on “Punishing the Jobless” is useful both in identifying the various groups opposed to extending unemployment benefits and in trying to clear up the confusion.

Still, Krugman buys the argument that there’s something wrong—when capitalism is not in a slump—with extending unemployment benefits, because it reduces unemployed workers’ incentives to look for jobs. He and other mainstream economists remain opposed to establishing a guaranteed minimum income for all residents of the United States. It’s a way of lowering competition within the labor market and raising the floor for all workers. The result would be better jobs and a better society. Clearly, Krugman and his mainstream colleagues are opposed to raising and extending unemployment benefits, and moving in the direction of a guaranteed national income, because they continue to represent a coalition of the heartless, the clueless, and the confused.

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