A Pointless Feel-Good Story about Reinvention–and the Alternative Case to Be Made for the Value of Interdisciplinary Studies, Minors, and Dual Majors

ACADEME BLOG

For several months, there was much political debate about the extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Predictably, people on the Far Right, from Rand Paul to Paul Ryan, asserted that the extension of benefits would amount to a disservice to those receiving the benefits. The reasons ranged from the broadly ideological—for instance, that the extension of benefits would simply deepen dependency on government largesse—to the superficially logical—for instance, given that long-term unemployment has been a difficult feature of this recession and that employers are biased against the long-term unemployed, why should we be adding to the problem.

Of course, both types of arguments ignore the basic reality that this category of workers simply cannot find jobs. More specifically, the ideological argument ignores that the alternative to unemployment benefits may be homelessness and hunger, and the logical argument conflates being unemployed with receiving benefits, as if not providing the…

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