Publisher’s Perspective: Unemployment abuse is self defeating

Posted on 24 February 2011 by LeslieM

Our federal government was bragging last week that nationwide unemployment has dropped slightly, but is still over 9 percent. In Florida, it’s12 percent!

I overheard two employees in a local retail store talking recently in the aisle next to me as I shopped. They were discussing a fellow employee who had quit his job there and had managed to get on the unemployment roll. “Can you believe it?” said one. “He is getting from the government within a few dollars per week of what we are making, and he doesn’t even have to get out of bed in the morning.” They continued, “ However, he’s actually making a lot more than us because he’s already working  “off the book” at another place, part time for cash.” I drifted away to another isle as I heard them questioning whether or not they should do the same thing.

Fast forward to two weeks later. My wife and I were on a long planned cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda. Our first night at sea was open seating, so we sat down next to a couple in their late 40s from Pompano. After we’d talked about various amenities on the ship, I asked the couple what they did back on land. The lady spoke up first and said she was a school teacher in Broward County. When I asked her where, she said she was currently unemployed. When I queried her husband, he said “I’m a welder, but I just lost my job too.” Trying to be helpful, I said “I know the owners of several companies trying to hire welders right now. I handed him my card and said, “Give me a call when we get back to Ft. Lauderdale, and I’ll get you an interview.” A few minutes later, as we all left the table, I noticed he shoved my card under his napkin purposely leaving it. I thought to myself  “So much for looking for a job.” The rest of the cruise they pointedly avoided us.

There is a common concept that employees pay into the Unemployment Compensation Fund and, therefore, are simply getting some of their money back. That is simply not true. Only employers pay in! Because Florida’s unemployment roll now exceeds 12 percent, Florida employers are now being required to put in an additional $2 billion into the unemployment compensation fund. This raises the costs for all Florida companies, puts us all at a competitive disadvantage, and is counter-productive to bringing more jobs to Florida. Therefore, when people abuse the system, they are making it more difficult for everyone here, including themselves, to get a job in the future.

David Eller, Publisher

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