Rand Paul to Unemployed: Take a Pay Cut and Stop Asking for Handouts
Monday, June 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm
Via Talking Points Memo, Rand Paul — son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the Republican nominee for a Kentucky Senate seat — has some advice for the unemployed: Take a pay cut and stop asking for government aid.
“As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that’s less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again,” he said. “Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen.”
Paul also suggested that regardless of whether the benefits could be paid for with cuts somewhere else, it might be time for some people to just stop asking for government aid. “I think the issue is bigger than unemployment benefits.” Paul said, referring to government spending. “It’s all about priorities, what is the priority. And sometimes tough decisions will have to be made.”
“I’m not sure what the answer is,” Paul said. “In Europe, they give about a year of unemployment. We’re up to two years now in America.”
The latter point is simply not true. Sweden, for instance, grants the unemployed up to 450 days of unemployment benefits and then offers a program guaranteeing work for the long-term unemployed. And the former point is dismissive and cruel. There are 7 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months and a million who have been out of work for more than two years — and not for a lack of “tough love,” or because they are refusing jobs with lower salaries. They are competing five-to-one for jobs. They often work in places that have suffered the collapse of personnel-intensive industries (home building in Las Vegas, car manufacturing in Detroit). Those jobs are not coming back, and if you are underwater on your mortgage, taking care of a sick parent or a jobless kid and tied down to your community, it is not easy for you to pick up and find work elsewhere. There are a number of governmental programs that could help these millions of people — direct hiring and extended benefits among them. But politicians’ belief that the debt is more important and that sometimes people just have to stop asking for handouts means that aid is not likely forthcoming.
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