The NCGA seeks to cure a nonexistent disease of the unemployed

The #NCGA medievalists say unemployment insurance is one vector of a dependency infection which fosters, Mitt Romney wrongly argued, "passivity and sloth."

Very much like drapetomania. Which according to Samuel Cartwright, MD, required "whipping." Already applied by the #NCGA #GOP to the unemployed by way of cuts in benefits and a cut in weeks of eligibility for benefits. Soon to be followed by a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance document five contacts with potential employers per week.

A proposal attended by sneering rationalizations, not evidence of value.

#NCGA point man of the attack on "dependency" was American Legislative Exchange Council member Stephen LaRoque. Before federal indictments forced him to resign, #NCGA #Rep LaRoque famously argued that, "Most anyone can find a job if they can pass a drug test and are physically able to work." As a candidate, he called for mandatory drug testing and mandatory work programs for recipients of government assistance.

Not his ideas, but those of his ALEC corporate sponsors.

Apparently wary of wholesale adoption of ALEC's sweeping proposals, the GOP medievalists are proceeding stepwise to attack the unemployed with changes which have nothing to do with either the purposes of unemployment insurance or the realities of the job marketplace. Although they passed a drug-test for social services benefits law which has been implemented for Work-First applicants in Robeson County, they skipped a drug test requirement for unemployment insurance, which would have been required by a 2011 bill.

They opted instead for the essentially useless five contacts a week requirement.

The primary predictor of how long the unemployed are without work is not contacts per week or any other related metric. As Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight explains, it's when the unemployed person loses his job:

Over the past 15 years, a period spanning two recessions, a one-point increase in the unemployment rate increased an individual’s odds of remaining unemployed for at least a year by about 35 percent. No other characteristic — age, sex, race, marital status, education or occupation, among others — had even close to that big an effect.

Similarly, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco concluded that recent growth in long term unemployment resulted from "weak labor demand." Not the work-seeking behavior of the unemployed.

Economists studying the effect of increased work search requirements have found that they may produce more effort by the unemployed, with little or no benefit. For example, a 1994 assessment of the Maryland experiment found a reduction of search time for those subjected to increased work-search requirements, but comparatively worse post-employment earnings. In the United Kingdom, tightening benefits and setting search requirements did tend to push people off unemployment a few days sooner, "without really raising job find rates" and with a negative impact on post-unemployment earnings and careers.

Yet the #GOP super-majority of the #NCGA is pursuing the whipping cure, like that prescribed in 1851 by the late Dr. Cartwright.

You may recall that freedom was drapetomania's cure, not punishment.




I keep finding myself shocked

I keep finding myself shocked and surprised by the GOP's capacity for delusion. You would think I would have learned by now.