The issue of mass unemployment is not a simple problem that we can afford to ignore. It has clear and visible effects not just on the worker laid off during the recession, but on our society as a whole.
The fact that there are only four million job openings for twelve-and-a-half million unemployed Americans despite a recent increase in jobs after four years of economic torture is a serious cause for concern.
What makes this problem even worse is that long-term unemployment benefits are beginning to be choked off by budget hawks while the defenders of these benefits are slowly losing the will to hold the line.
What these budget hawks don’t realize is that this insurance allows unemployed workers to keep looking for suitable jobs instead of taking the first job that will put food on the table. Imagine our brightest, smartest and most dedicated workers – with matching post-graduate degrees and multiple proficiency certificates – flipping burgers and/or whipping up coffee.
That is not something we want to see happen.
Yet another problem with this is the fact that unemployed workers lose their income; further starving out existing businesses and putting even more strain on our still-hurting economy.
The worst problem, however, is when unemployed workers give up looking for jobs and accept their unemployment for good. This is a problem that long-term unemployed face. Imagine being out of work since 2008 or 2009, when the recession was at its peak, up until now. Your work skills have been left to rust, your networks with other professionals have shrunk or disappeared and all that stress of looking for jobs where none can be found simply makes you want to just give it all up.
The fact of the matter is that unemployment benefits does good to our society as a whole. It does not promote laziness, but it extends a means and an incentive for the unemployed to keep looking for jobs suited to their skills instead of “falling back on welfare“.
To let those benefits fall to the wayside is to abandon our unemployed and prevent them from financially re-establishing themselves in society.