Anyone following me on the Huffington Post knows that finding ways to reduce the national deficit is one of my recurring themes. Like many current and former Blue Dogs, I believe that if we don’t get our national debt under control there will be disastrous consequences. But rumblings on Capitol Hill from Republicans (and even a few Democrats) about not extending federal unemployment benefits is bad politics because it will anger many Americans and have little impact on reducing our debt.
While there are undoubtedly some bad apples taking advantage of their unemployment benefits, most unemployed people are productive and valuable members of our society who are down on their luck. These folks have worked hard, paid their taxes and now need their government to help them through a rough patch.
Unemployment benefits also help those beyond the people who are receiving them.