Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ditch the payroll tax cut. Keep the unemployment benefits.

I'm already on record thinking the continued payroll tax holiday is a really bad idea. I think it undermines the long-term viability of Social Security, and more than a few critics agree with me. But I'm really, really against continuing the tax holiday if the price is cutting unemployment benefits to 3 million people.

As a macroeconomic matter, which is going to have a bigger impact on the economy? Lots of workers having a few extra bucks to spend? Or 3 million workers losing all the bucks they have to spend? I very much doubt the stimulative effect of the first outweighs the recessionary effects of the latter.

The payroll tax cut is a bad idea. Achieving it by cutting a bad deal is even worse.

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