Fox’s Varney Reverses Economists On The “Trap” Of Jobless Benefits Extension

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from Media Matters,

Fox’s Stuart Varney reversed economists’ findings on unemployment benefits, claiming economists view an extension of benefits as “a trap” that discourages unemployed Americans from gaining employment, a notion that experts have repeatedly discredited.

On December 28, 1.3 million unemployed Americans lost their unemployment benefits with the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program, an emergency federal provision that extended unemployment benefits to workers when their state benefits ran out. The program began in 2008.

Fox Business host Stuart Varney dismissed these now-lost unemployment benefits as a “trap” on the January 2 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, claiming that economists believe the benefits act as a disincentive for finding work.

Varney gets it backwards — economists have repeatedly repudiated the notion that unemployment benefits act as a trap and discouragement from work.

Economists disagree. The Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) Elise Gould called the notion of a welfare/work tradeoff “wildly misleading.” As EPI explained, “The notion that people would rather get unemployment compensation than a job ignores how low weekly benefits actually are.”

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