- “Christmas is 10 days away,” said Pelosi at a press briefing on Capitol Hill today. “The president and Democrats in Congress have been very clear. We're not going home without enacting a payroll tax cut for America's working families and extending unemployment insurance for millions of Americans.”
“The payroll tax cut that the president proposed would put $1,500 in the pockets of 160 million Americans,” she said. “The unemployment insurance extension is not only good for individuals. It has a macroeconomic impact. As macroeconomic advisers have stated, it would make a difference of 600,000 jobs to our economy.”
- Struggling to keep its budget under control after the financial crisis, the government in June cut into its benefits system, the world’s most generous, by limiting unemployment payments to two years instead of four. Having found that recipients either get work right away or take any job as their checks run out, officials are also redoubling longstanding efforts to move Danes more quickly out of the safety net.
“The cold fact is that the longer you are out of a job, the more difficult it is to get a job,” Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the Danish finance minister, said during an interview. “Four years of unemployment is a luxury we can no longer allow ourselves.”
- Fortunately, there is a solid consensus in Denmark that receiving generous benefits requires the active participation of the unemployed — he or she has to pull their weight, too. If not, the unemployed can be punished by the public administrator for a violation of the society’s spirit of meaningful solidarity.
In other words, laziness can be punished — and since the sanction is highly credible, if provides an effective incentive to changing the behavior of the unemployed.