Senior Obama advisor explains why high unemployment is healthy for the economy


White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, whose remarkable level of power and influence in the Administration has been a topic of considerable debate, demonstrated her economic brilliance before an audience at the North Carolina Central University on Monday:

As transcribed by The Blaze, Jarrett retailed one of the Obama Administration’s most persistent fantasies – thoroughly debunked by both rational economic analysis and a casual survey of current headlines – which holds that unemployment insurance is an incredibly powerful job-creating stimulus:

“Even though we had a terrible economic crisis three years ago, throughout our country many people were suffering before the last three years, particularly in the black community,” Jarrett said. “And so we need to make sure that we continue to support that important safety net. It not only is good for the family, but it’s good for the economy. People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that’s healthy as well.

(Emphasis mine.)  Good news: according to Gallup, unemployment is on its way back up to 9 percent in February.  That should flood the economy with fresh stimulus!  To achieve maximum health, we should try to get back to the double-digit levels President Obama has previously brought us.  Then America’s veins would be bursting with cash from unemployment checks!

Think about what this dopey talking point really means.  Jarrett and her President think that if they suck billions out of the private sector through high taxes, and rack up trillions more in debt, the resulting pennies on the dollar returned to unemployed Americans will somehow drive economic growth far in excess of the job-killing effects of their policies.

Try to imagine what people who think this way would do, given four years of a lame-duck second term to implement their crackpot ideas.  It puts the silly media frenzies about condoms and Satan into context, doesn’t it?  Say what you will about any of the Republican candidates, but none of them would go before a university audience and declare that persistent high unemployment, coupled with a collapsing work force, are signs of economic health.

Update: Two quick further thoughts on the matter of “unemployment stimulus”: contrary to the official Administration line about the stimulus power of unemployment insurance, the Congressional Budget Office recently published a study that cited extended unemployment benefits as one of the factors making our employment picture worse.  It’s not difficult to understand how 99 weeks of benefits work to remove some of the urgency from job-seekers, although it’s considered extremely rude to make that common-sense observation.

The other way these endless unemployment benefits hurt our economy is even less polite to discuss, so I’ll just come right out and say it: they defuse a tide of public anger that would otherwise have desperate jobless people marching around the White House and Capitol Hill with pitchforks and torches.  Vastly extended unemployment money is the anaesthetic that makes Obamanomic decay bearable for the public.  

Look at how much the body of long-term unemployed and completely discouraged job seekers is growing.  If those people didn’t have a government-provided income stream, they would be far less tolerant of Obama making billions disappear into “green job” rat holes, and indulging his extreme ideology to block projects and reforms that would actually bolster healthy job creation.