Unemployment compensation, like Social Security, is an "entitlement" (sic) that people actually do pay for. The Unemployment Insurance trust funds have the same problem as Social Security: because benefits have been extended and eligibility widened, the fund collections from taxes have not kept up with the accrued benefits. But, that should hardly be Jonathan's responsibility any more than it should be mine as a Social Security recipient. One can argue whether or not we should have such government-mandated pooled risk and deferred annuity programs; but, as long as we have FICA and FUTA deductions from payrolls and self-employment earnings, Gary's characterization is not true - most of the money is not being taken from "some" "to give to others". That characterization is true, of course, for Pell grants, food stamps, employees of the EPA and most (but not all) of Medicare; but should avoid falling into the crude generalizations that Libertarians retail as part of their continuing quest to remain as irrelevant to American elections as the Prohibition Party.

P.S. One of the many ironies of the tax/benefits laws in the U.S. is that, if you are self-employed, you cannot, with very few exceptions, qualify for unemployment. However, if you create a C corporation and are artful about the ownership structure, you can pay yourself a salary and pay FUTA, have the owners fire you and qualify for unemployment. Under the current laws in California (not counting the President's proposed extension of unemployment benefits) that would be a payout of roughly $45K not otherwise available to us poor capitalists struggling to game the system.

Gary should reload; his objections to the present arrangements will be far more lethal if he points out that the system's perverse favoritisms force even the most independent and personally honest people to spend time figuring out how to play the game so they can get their "fair" (sic) share of money they are legally entitled to.


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