Hamilton Nolan savages American Enterprise Institute scholar Richard Vedder’s theory published in the Wall St Journal on why there is high unemployment in the US (Vedder essentially claims that social welfare has destroyed people’s incentive to work and have a much better time lazing around on benefits). Writes Nolan:
In the magical universe of free enterprise-idolatry, as embodied by Richard Vedder, the unemployment rate is a symptom of Americans lounging about lazily, reveling in their gaudy unemployment benefits (a maximum of $405 per week, in New York), dining out on their generous food stamps (an average of $109 per month), and celebrating the fact that they are lucky enough to be disabled, in order to reap disability benefits that average under $1,500 per month, which may be enough to pay their therapy bills. What a grossly generous lifestyle we afford these people. No wonder they have absolutely no desire to work.
Nolan also makes the seemingly obvious point that as the number of available jobs in the economy have declined, the unemployment rate has risen, leading to the simple conclusion that unemployment is high because there aren’t that many jobs around. In Libertarian cuckoo land however, this makes no sense. Markets supposedly solve everything and unemployed people either need to look harder for jobs, or instantaneously acquire the skill set to start their own businesses with no training, capital or resources and become the next Steve Jobs.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.