Yet moral hazard lurks in every conservative brain. It's also true that if we got rid of lifeguards and let more swimmers drown, fewer people would venture into the water. And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burned to the ground, fewer people would use stoves. A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love.
In point of fact, most states provide unemployment benefits that are only a fraction of the wages and benefits people lost when their jobs disappeared. Indeed, fewer than 40-percent of the unemployed in most states are even eligible for benefits, because states require applicants to have been in a full-time job longer than most jobless had one. A majority of the jobless typically have moved from job to job before they failed to find a new one, or have held a number of part-time jobs.
So it's hard to make the case that many of the unemployed have chosen to remain jobless and collect unemployment benefits rather than work.
Anyone who bothered to step into the real world would see the absurdity of Barro's position. Right now, there are roughly five applicants for every job opening in America.
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