We suppose we should be happy that Stu Bykofsky is concerned about the plight of America’s long-term unemployed instead of, you know, insulting them. Still, the Daily News‘ resident curmudgeon came up with a really lousy idea for helping those folks in a blog post this weekend:
After the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits expire, all benefits after that will come as a long-term, low-interest loan, like a student loan, that must be paid back over time. Kind of like what my parents would have done.
This would provide support to the unemployed families — who will get to keep their homes, their cars and food on the table (a social good) — and provides for the taxpayer to be reimbursed (a fiscal good).
Is this an acceptable deal?
Stu's suggestion is akin to seeing a man drowning in the Schuylkill River and throwing him an anchor instead of a life vest. Why? Because if you're not earning money, adding debt to your financial situation only drags you further under the surface of the water. Eventually those workers might find a job again — only saddled, potentially, with tens of thousands of dollars in additional debt preventing the rebuilding of a new life. It's akin to those short-term "paycheck loan" places; they might provide a quick hedge against a bad week or a bad month, but they often end up making a poor person even more poor than they were before. Stu's "cure" is worse than the problem it would supposedly fix.