Fox Misrepresents Economic Research To Push Unemployment Benefit Cuts

Fox and Friends

Fox News misrepresented economic research while arguing against efforts to extend lapsed long-term unemployment benefits, ignoring the fact that the research itself noted the benefits of extending unemployment insurance to the jobless.

This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a bipartisan bill that would restore benefits to the long-term unemployed. Emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) lapsed in December 2013, and Congress has put forth multiple proposals to restore the program over the past few months.

On the March 26 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business' Charles Payne was brought on to preview the effort to extend lapsed benefits. Payne touted a Brookings Institution study co-authored by economist and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger, which found that only 10 percent of the long-term unemployed are able to find new employment within a year. Payne used this finding to argue against extending long-term EUC benefits, claiming that the unemployed “have to be pushed back into the job market” and that being unemployed should not be “too comfortable.”

If Payne had actually taken time to read the study he cited, he would have found that the authors actually note the exact opposite.

Contrary to Payne's claim that unemployment benefits keep people from entering the job market, Kruger and his co-authors point out that the benefits, which require the unemployed to search for jobs "[have] been shown to induce unemployed workers to stay in the labor force." Indeed, the idea that unemployment insurance somehow suppresses labor participation is a well-worn falsehood, and multiple studies have shown EUC benefits do not discourage job seeking.

Furthermore, while the Fox & Friends segment attempted to paint Krueger's research as an indication that he opposes government efforts to help the unemployed, he recently stated that the government should be more aggressive at preventing people from becoming long-term unemployed.

The simple fact is that the long-term unemployed aren't in their situation because of lack of effort; rather, it is due to a lack of available jobs and possible hiring discrimination.

Misrepresenting economic research to deny benefits for millions of Americans is just the latest installment in Fox's documented history of disparaging unemployment insurance.