RUSH: Here is Tom in San Diego. Tom, thank you for waiting. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: The reason I'm calling is about the proposed extension of unemployment yet once again. I think the Republicans have to be a little bit more aggressive with their message, and I think it needs to be more along the lines of personalizing it, and I would say that while they are sympathetic to the victims -- meaning the unemployed -- of five years of the Obama economy, and they do want to support the extension of unemployment compensation to those unemployed, they, unlike the Democrats who are willing to do so at the expense of their own children and grandchildren by increasing the debt. Republicans are not prepared to go there and put the ball right back in the Democrats' court.
RUSH: Well, since you've called about this and you've got that idea, let me give you the current lay of the land.
RUSH: I want to tell you about two things. The first I have here is an AP story. "GOP Seeks Jobless Bill cChanges to Offset the Cost -- One day after clearing a key Senate hurdle, legislation to renew long-term jobless benefits stood at a crossroads yesterday with gridlock beckoning from one direction and the prospect of compromise from the other." Now, in a nutshell, here is where things stand on the push to extend federal unemployment benefits again.
The Republicans are saying that they will not extend the benefits unless they're paid for, and we're talking $6 billion for three months. Now, that's a joke anyway, since Congress can always pretend to pay for something with creative accounting, but still they are making that point. It's a verbal point. So now the Democrats are offering a compromise. They say that they will pretend to pay for this latest extension if the Republicans will do it for a whole year, not just three months.
So, in other words, they want to extend unemployment benefits beyond the 2014 elections here in November. What a deal, huh? (interruption) I did. I joked about it. In fact, I can almost quote myself verbatim. I said, "What the Republicans ought to do is suggest to the Democrats, 'Look, let's just extend it a whole year, and let's get the issue off the table so that the Democrats can't keep hammering us with it during the campaign year.'" I was being facetious.
That's what the Republicans have done with every issue: Just agree to it, get it "off the table" so the Democrats can't hammer 'em. Well, the Democrats have now proposed it. The Republicans said, "Okay, okay! We'll extend for three months, but it's gotta be paid for." Democrats have come back and said, "Okay, we'll pay for it," 'cause they know they're not going to be; it's just accounting, "but we want to extend a whole year."
So that's where it is. So they just put the onus back on the Republicans. The Democrats establish a premise, in this case unemployment benefits need to be extended. If you don't just reject it, you're stuck, and so the Republicans thought (like they always do), "You know what? We'll throw 'em a curveball! We'll tell 'em we agree, but it's gotta be paid for. They'll never agree to that." But the Democrats say, "Okay, fine, we'll pay for it," 'cause they know they won't, "but we want to extend it for the whole year."
So now the onus is gonna be on the Republicans. "How can you possibly reject unemployment benefits for poor people for a whole year, even when they're paid for?" So it's what happens. Democrats make an offer or they establish a premise, a policy premise, and if it is not outright totally rejected, the Republicans say, "Well, we have an alternative," but it's based on the premise, so they're stuck.
Now, let me tell you about a column in the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch section. They asked a question nobody in Washington seems to be asking. "What Happens When Jobless Benefits are Cut?" That's something that nobody wants to talk about. Nobody wants to even discuss it. "What do you mean, cut unemployment benefits? Don't you have a heart? Don't you care about people? We're talking about extending unemployment benefits anywhere from three months to a year, and you want to cut them?"
Well, last summer, a state did that.
Did you know which one?
North Carolina dramatically cut the amount of cash people received in jobless benefits. They also, in addition to cutting the amount of money, reduced the number of weeks that people were eligible to get benefits -- and you know what happened? The unemployment rate fell within months. By last November, North Carolina's unemployment rate was at a five-year low, simply because they cut the cash and the number of weeks people were eligible. How did this happen, you probably wonder. How'd the unemployment rate go down?
It's 'cause people had to go out and find jobs! That was the only alternative! You can pay people to not work, and they'll take it, and they won't work. You can cut the benefits and length of time they get the benefits and they've got one choice -- well, two choices. Social Security disability, but that's another thing. The Republican governor in North Carolina, Pat McCrory, didn't do this to punish the unemployed in his state. He did it to be fiscally responsible. North Carolina, as is other state, can't print their money.
They don't have it. They don't have it, and they had run up a massive debt to the federal government. They had borrowed money from the feds to pay for unemployment benefits. With the benefit cut, tens of thousands of people became ineligible for the long-term, federal extended benefits that recently expired -- the ones the Democrats now want to reinstate at all costs, even though they agreed to let 'em expire as part of it budget deal.
But, voila! With the jobless benefits cut, people in North Carolina found jobs.
North Carolina's not the only state where unemployment has fallen. With less money to pay unemployment benefits, it's happened to Georgia and South Carolina, too. This is the kind of leadership we ought to be getting in Washington. Somebody ought to be suggest, you know what, 99 weeks is enough, or 125 week is enough. There need to be limits rather than this endless expansion. But if you have been made to believe that people are fragile, and if you've been made to believe as a party...
The Republican Party, I think they've been beaten up so much, they actually believe people can't help themselves anymore. "It's too hard to find work. It's just impossible, and it's too much stress, and there's no political benefit to us saying, 'Go get a job.' It's easier for us to just say, 'Okay, well, we'll extend.'" But this is exactly what I'm talking about. Democrats propose, "Hey, you know what? Let's do it the whole year." The answer is, "No. We need to get serious now and start reducing this. We can't afford it, and we're destroying these people by continuing to pay them not to work. We need to get them off their butts, the ones who can."
But that kind of courage, you're not gonna find it in Washington, folks.
It does not exist.