According to PRI, Moody’s estimates that $37 billion will simply vanish from our economy when unemployment benefits expire. So what will lawmakers do when they run out?
More than 14 million Americans use those benefits to buy the basics like clothes and food. If you recall, last time unemployment benefits expired, Democrats managed to push an extension through by extending the Bush tax cuts for Republicans.
But unemployment benefits add to the deficit, which Republicans have decided to take an extra hard stance on (in case you haven’t noticed) so they may not be up for negotiating this time.
And if they are willing to talk, it’s likely they won’t like the options on the table. Mike Munger, a political science and economics professor at Duke University says there are a lot of other expenses that the government can cut to make extending benefits possible without adding to the deficit.
Unfortunately, his main suggestion would be beyond unpalatable to Republicans:
Munger thinks one expense is tax breaks for the rich: “Raise taxes in a number of ways, or at least cut the loopholes that are in effect, huge expenditures that go to a relatively small number of very wealthy people.”
So that should be yet another rousing debate in Washington.