Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unemployment extension provides GOP an opportunity

By Robert Romano

At the end February, the payroll tax holiday will expire, along with the last extension of unemployment benefits up to 99 weeks. That event could provide Republicans an opportunity to have the Obama Administration put its money where its mouth is on the economy.

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson has called for Congress to bring an end to the extensions, citing Barack Obama’s heralding the latest unemployment numbers that came out on Feb. 3. Then, Obama said, “the economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up.”

Said Wilson, “It’s time for Obama to put up or shut up on unemployment benefits extensions up to 99 weeks,” noting that the White House “wants to claim that the apparent drop in the jobless rate means the economy is turning a corner.”

“If he really believes that the emergency is over, then it is time to rescind these extensions that have cost taxpayers an additional $275 billion since 2009,” he explained.

The latest figures showed the headline unemployment rate dropping to 8.3 percent. Obama wants the political credit, so it may be time for congressional Republicans to call his bluff.

To be certain, the headline number was indeed misleading, as it was predicated on a shrinking pool of workers, Wilson said. “4.7 million Americans who were a part of the labor force have simply given up on looking for work since Obama took office, which is artificially keeping the unemployment rate down.”
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