President Obama relentlessly argues the unemployed lack work through no fault of their own, and Republican reluctance to reinstate long-term jobless benefits is both heartless and harmful to the economy. Those assertions contradict the facts and sound economics.
Last July, North Carolina cut maximum unemployment benefits from 73 weeks to 20. During the next five months, the state's unemployment rate fell from 8.8 percent to 7.4 percent — more than four times better than the progress registered at the national level.
Eliminating the subsidy for not working inspired many Tar Heels to more earnestly seek jobs and accept positions they had previously shunned. Many others who lost benefits dropped out of the state labor force altogether, indicating they neither needed jobs nor unemployment benefits to get along, or they pulled up stakes and moved to places like South Dakota where good jobs go begging.