U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Report Estimates $23B Saved by Extending UI Benefits

Today, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released a report showing that the federal government could save more than $23 billion by extending unemployment benefits.

The report, entitled Extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits:  The Cost of Inaction for Disabled Workers,” focuses on labor force participation for unemployed disabled workers.  In the absence of extending the unemployment benefits program, these workers would likely drop out of the labor force and turn to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which would cost the federal government $24.2 billion.  In contrast, the cost of keeping these workers attached to the labor force by extending unemployment benefits and COBRA premium subsides would be only $721.3 million in 2010 (see chart).

“Extending unemployment benefits provides an immediate positive jolt to the U.S. economy because unemployed individuals spend the money quickly – to put food on the table, pay rent or their mortgage, and clothe their children.  Every dollar of unemployment benefits multiplies into $1.60 of economic activity,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the JEC.  “This report highlights the cost of inaction as it relates to disabled workers.  Not only is an extension of unemployment benefits the morally right thing to do, it is fiscally responsible, especially when you look at unemployed disabled workers.”

Charles E. Schumer, Vice Chair of the JEC, said, “If anyone still wasn’t convinced that unemployment benefits are a sound investment that gets a good bang for the buck, this report removes any doubt.  In addition to being the right thing to do for those who are out of work through no fault of their own, extending these benefits also makes good economic sense.  As the evidence shows, it more than pays for itself.  We will be pushing to extend these benefits through the end of the year shortly in the Senate.”

The JEC estimates that a failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits would result in nearly 290,000 disabled unemployed workers exhausting unemployment benefits in 2010.  The majority of these disabled exhaustees are likely to turn to the SSDI program for economic support.  These SSDI recipients are likely to remain permanently on disability rolls, even after economic conditions improve.

This is a costly proposition, especially because SSDI recipients become eligible for Medicare benefits after two years on the disability insurance.  The JEC estimates the lifetime cost of providing disability benefits to individuals pushed out of the labor market by the failure to extend unemployment benefits is over $24.2 billion.



3 Comments on U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Report Estimates $23B Saved by Extending UI Benefits

  1. While jobs seem more plentiful lately, there remains many applying for each job. Benefits must be extended thru at least 2010!

  2. This still doesn't pertain to the long term unemployed who have reached the end of their unemployment insurance payments, unless they happen to be disabled. I am not and cannot get SSI and have just over 4 more years till I can even claimSocial Security!

  3. DOMO ARIGATO, MS. ROBOTO?
    by Publius

    Washington D.C.—Carolyn Maloney, the nine-term Democratic Congresswoman from New York’s 14th District made news today, as it was discovered that the longtime Representative is in fact, a robot.
    Ms. Maloney, or Terminator model T8-7200 as she is known in the factory where she was assembled, was “outed” during a routine interview with The Washington Daily Ledger. After Ms. Maloney provided the crucial vote to continue government-funded bailouts, Ledger reporter Joe West caught up with the Congresswoman for an impromptu questioning.
    When Mr. West asked Ms. Maloney why she decided to vote to give billions of taxpayer dollars to the very companies whose failed policies helped lead to the recent financial panic, she responded bluntly, “I voted the party line,” and coughed up a four inch screw.
    Clearly unfazed by a government official with a screw loose, Mr. West felt compelled by journalistic integrity to continue the questioning. When he probed further and asked, “How could you be so reckless with taxpayer dollars at a time when so many people are losing their homes?” T8-7200, aka Ms. Maloney, responded, “I voted the party line,” in the same monotone, robotic sound that had previously passed for conviction in happier economic times.
    Though she did not cough up another screw, she did blow out a small fireball from her left ear after responding to the question. At that moment, Mr. West became fearful for his safety. Nearby press started to notice that something was wrong with the incumbent Democratic Congresswoman.
    “One screw coughed up in a day, no problem,” commented an unidentified Congressional Aide who feared for his career—and his life. “A screw and a fireball, that’s more Senator behavior…that’s when we knew something wasn’t quite right.”
    Although Mr. West and the growing mob of other reporters kept questioning Ms. Maloney, she kept repeating “I voted the party line” to every single question, even when she was asked what she wanted for lunch and, if she was a butterfly, what kind of butterfly would she be?
    It was discovered she was a robot when Ms. Maloney’s Congressional Aide stepped into the mob carrying an oversized, metallic can-opener, and put his hand on the back of her neck, turning the dial from “Auto-Pilot” to “Make Unkeepable Promises.”
    Obviously, people at the scene were left in shock as Ms. Maloney was carted away in an unidentified software corporation’s steel reinforced box that read “Guaranteed to vote the party line 99.2 % of the time or your lobbyist free.” Before being put into the box, Ms. Maloney hiccupped oil on to several of the press, and screamed out “I am Iron Man!”
    Ms. Maloney is running for re-election in New York’s 14th district on a platform of responsible government and shared humanity. We here at The Informer sure hope her manufacturer can remove all her glitches in time for the election, or at least her debates.
    One unidentified reporter had this to say about today’s events: “She’s gonna have to shoot lasers out of her eyeballs if she wants my vote.” Very informative stuff.
    In other news, Ryan Brumberg, a Republican, is challenging Ms. Maloney for the 14th District’s Congressional seat. He is running on a socially liberal, fiscally conservative platform. We here at The Informer will be keeping a close eye on Mr. Brumberg. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Stanford Law School. Mr. Brumberg worked as a Management Consultant at McKinsey and Company for three years before recently resigning to devote all his time to running for office.
    A proud New Yorker, Mr. Brumberg has vowed to vote his conscience and not simply the party line. It is widely believed that he is not a robot or Batman, the caped-crusader who haunts our dreams with his flashy, yet functional cape.

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