Archived Story

Disincentives to work stymie economic growth

Published 12:12am Sunday, February 3, 2013

No one disputes that the nation’s ongoing recovery from the recession that began in late 2007 is the most sluggish since the Great Depression. The question of what’s causing the sluggishness and what should be done about it, though, highlights a deep ideological divide among Americans and their leaders.

Richard Vedder, professor emeritus of economics at Ohio University, makes a compelling argument that the anemic growth of the U.S. economy in recent years is a result of, instead of a justification for, expanded government aid in the form of food stamps, extended unemployment benefits and Social Security disability payments.

Writing in the The Wall Street Journal recently, Vedder said that this type of government support has made it more attractive not to work, which has led to a drop in the percentage of Americans in the work force and an attendant decline in economic output….

A number of other economists, including ones who have gone on to work for President Barack Obama, have noted a link between unemployment benefits and a disincentive to work….

Meanwhile, Congress just renewed the “emergency” unemployment benefits extension for another year as part of the New Year’s “fiscal cliff” deal, and federal-government policies in recent years seem aimed specifically at expanding, not paring, programs such as food stamps.

Government has no magic powers to instantly heal the economy. But policies that create disincentives to work and therefore inhibit growth can have the opposite effect.

The Columbus Dispatch



  • Poor Richard

    Finally, actual research that indicates what the rest of us have known for years.

    While watching a documentary about Hoover, there was a photo of man during the depression holding a sign that said ‘want to work – no charity’, today that signs reads ‘want charity – no work’. The government has created generation after generation of lazy, good for nothing, uneducated criminals that purposely have children so they will get more money. Our region is full of them.

    That’s what I saw during Katrina, hordes of lazy, good for nothing, entitlement people that expected hand outs, expected everyone else to do for them so they didn’t have to lift a finger. All they did was complain. I would never go back to that city to work again, don’t care if it slides into the ocean.

    Same thing in southern WV and eastern KY. To supplement their government handouts, the majority steal from people that actually work. They have no pride, are not interested in bettering themselves or their communities. They are vested in nothing but getting government aid and spending it on drugs. The entire region is a huge landfill with garbage in every orifice of the region — why? — because that’s how they live.

    Each and everyone of them need to be drug tested and if positive, lose their handout permanently. I understand that everyone thinks this will take money away from the children but the truth is, drug heads don’t spend that money on their children anyway. Wise up.

    (Report comment)

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