Tags: reporter | economy | humanity | Hindenburg

Forget About Data, Some Want Policy Based on the Hindenburg Test

By    |   Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 08:16 AM

Every policy decision Washington makes results in winners and losers. That is the sad reality of extended unemployment benefits. While data show that cutting benefits from 99 weeks to 26 weeks lowers unemployment, anecdotes reveal that many individuals are hurt by the change.

Anecdotes dominate economic reporting. The New York Times and USA Today seem to depend on finding a few people to highlight the impact of any policy decision. Student loans are bad because reporters can find three people for each article to provide horror stories. Restoring unemployment benefits to their 2008 level is bad because a few people will point out they can't find a job in the current market.

These stories are reminiscent of the reporting on the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. The reporter focused on the horror and exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!” as the airship burst into flames. Lost in the reporting was the heroism where ordinary people performed extraordinary tasks to save 62 of the 97 people onboard the doomed fireball.

Every bit of human suffering is a tragedy, but government is not the answer to everything. No one remembers the heroes from that day in 1937, and few know that they saved the majority of the passengers' lives. All we recall is “Oh, the humanity!”

It's the same with mainstream media reporting on government benefits. Anyone who is not given 100 percent of what they expect is a victim. “Oh, the humanity!” has replaced “How can we find a solution?”

Unemployment benefits could be paid for by cutting subsidies for green energy, which cannot survive on its own in the free market. Those benefits could also be funded by increased tax revenue generated by the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

Instead of decrying the suffering of individuals, we should work together to identify government waste and inaction that destroys wealth. That is the best way to prevent hundreds of thousands of individuals from prospering in what could be a rapidly growing free economy.

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MichaelCarr
Every policy decision Washington makes results in winners and losers. That is the sad reality of extended unemployment benefits. While data show that cutting benefits from 99 weeks to 26 weeks lowers unemployment, anecdotes reveal that many individuals are hurt by the change.
reporter, economy, humanity, Hindenburg
328
2014-16-30
Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 08:16 AM
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