I recently wrote about the pinheads at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who are threatening legal action against companies that are leery about hiring people with criminal records.
Now some states and cities are making it illegal to discriminate against those that have been unemployed for a long period of time.
Unlike special legal status for ex-cons, this sounds reasonable. After all, we all would like to help the long-term unemployed break free of the chains of government dependency.
But sometimes good intentions generate undesirable effects. I explain in this Fox Business News debate that companies will do their best to avoid even interviewing the long-term unemployed if they have to worry about potential legal pitfalls whenever they make a hiring decision.
I also explain that businesses have no incentive to engage in unjustified discrimination. After all, that would imply a willingness to deliberately sacrifice profit in pursuit of some irrational bias.
But as Walter Williams has succinctly argued, some forms of discrimination make sense.
And if there are two applicants who otherwise seem to have equal qualifications for a certain job, but one has been out of work for more than 12 months, it’s only logical that the employer will think that a lengthy stint of sitting on a couch does not suggest great habits.
Which is why Obama’s policy of never-ending unemployment benefits is so misguided. People get lured into long-term unemployment and there is both anecdotal evidence (check out these stories from Michigan and Ohio) and empirical evidence (here, here, and here) showing this unfortunate impact.
Heck, even Paul Krugman and Larry Summers have admitted that you get more unemployment when you subsidize joblessness.
So you won’t be surprised to know that I’ve dispensed some tough love on this topic as well.
P.S. This cartoon does a very effective job of showing the consequences of paying people not to work.