February 11, 2014

From this Saturday's the Journal Editorial Report on Faux "news," the Wall Street Journal's James Freeman heaped praise on the "politically courageous" North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and repeated the latest laundry list of Republican lies talking points on extending unemployment benefits.

FREEMAN: Paul, this is a hit to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and the members of the legislature there, who last summer, last year I should say, took the politically courageous step of cutting unemployment benefits, reducing them.

Now, this makes them look very hard-hearted. They took a lot of grief in the media, but the results are in. More jobs, in fact, North Carolina's really one of the country's job creation stars since then and it's for a lot of reasons, including, heavy taxes have to pay for these benefits and these benefits discourage people from seeking work. So, good for them.

Not exactly. Here's more on that from Think Progress:

In fact, the very sources the governor’s office cite for evidence all make a case in favor of continuing benefits: Unemployment insurance is a strong incentive to find work, since recipients must actively search for a job in order to collect. But the opposite scenario is now happening in North Carolina: The unemployment rate has fallen a percentage point, but that likely has a lot to do with people dropping out of the labor force. As the length of benefits shortened from 99 weeks to 19, 170,000 people lost federal benefits and others saw their weekly checks fall by nearly $200. In the wake of that change, the state has seen its labor participation shrink to a 37-year low: [...]

After Congress failed to extend long-term unemployment insurance, the rest of the country’s unemployed have joined North Carolina. More than 1 million people who have been out of work longer than six months have lost compensation, and Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Michigan, and North Carolina now provide fewer than 26 weeks of benefits. There has been an immediate impact on the economy, with state economies losing $400 million in a single week.

North Carolina’s failed experiment hasn’t prevented Republicans from highlighting the policy as a success. A Republican memo instructed lawmakers to spin it as a proof that ending the program can help the unemployed. But the memo merely asks Republicans to look compassionate while promoting policies that add more obstacles to finding work.

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