CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: That's why I think the Republican approach is the wrong approach. I agree with Steve [Hayes], it shouldn't be about whether it increases the deficit or not. It's a fairly small amount of money, and that's not the core issue. The core issue is creating an entitlement. This has never been considered an entitlement. And you go down this road, Sperling says now is not the time. Four and a years into a recovery, at least as defined by the administration itself, is not the time? If not now, then when?
I mean, what we're going to end up with is an European level of unemployment, chronic unemployment subsidized. And the fact is, if you subsidize apples, you get more apples; if you subsidize unemployment, you get more of it. And that's what the economics study shows. It's not that people are lazy. It shows that if you have unemployment insurance, then you can make choices which would allow you to turn down a job that perhaps isn't exactly what you want. The vast majority of the unemployed want a job, and the problem is the state of the economy.
I think what Republicans ought to do is recognize that it's becoming an entitlement and they would oppose that. On the other hand, it's still tough times. Unemployment is relatively high, and if we were to count the people who've quit looking, it would be 11%. So I think what they ought to do is say, 'We'll accept the short term, the three months, but only if you build into the bill an unwinding of this so it has an end date, so we all understand it isn't an entitlement, it's a way to help people temporarily.' And that would be a good solution.