It would be tragic if Congress abandoned the unemployed in order to clip a relative smidgen off the deficit about $30 billion of a deficit of $1 trillion. According to the most recent federal survey of job vacancies, there were about seven applicants for every two openings. That’s an improvement over the worst days of the recession, when the ratio of applicants to openings was more than 10 to 2.
But it still means that there aren’t nearly enough jobs available to put everyone back to work, especially when you consider the more than 9 million Americans who are either stuck in part-time jobs when they want full-time work, or who’ve become so discouraged they’ve dropped out of the workforce.
Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats have battled for more than two years over how to offset the cost of the benefits, and more recently whether to continue funding them at all. T
here’s a legitimate debate to be had over whether the country should continue borrowing money to pay for unemployment benefits. But the usual argument for cutting off benefits is risible when there aren’t enough jobs to take.