Big Ideas: On Job Openings, Japan's Shinzo Abe and Hispanics

By Lawler, Joseph | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, January 24, 2014 | Go to article overview

Big Ideas: On Job Openings, Japan's Shinzo Abe and Hispanics


Lawler, Joseph, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Benjamin Landy for the Century Foundation: On Dec. 28, roughly 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment insurance after Congress failed to renew an emergency program that would have extended benefits for the long-term jobless.

Three weeks later, lawmakers are still dithering. Some high- profile Republicans have joined Democrats in supporting another extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, although they disagree over how it should be funded. Others, like Sen. Rand Paul, have suggested that providing unemployment insurance longer than the typical 26 weeks does workers "a disservice," lulling them into complacency.

There are a number of reasons why Paul's comments were off base, from the bleak moral vision they represent to the numerous studies showing unemployment insurance actually helps workers stay in the labor force. But perhaps the most obvious rebuttal is this: Four years into the economic recovery, there are still less than 4 million job openings for more than 10 million unemployed people. Including the nearly 1 million Americans who also have no job but are counted as "discouraged" rather than "unemployed," that's approximately three job applicants per available position.

How China will respond to Japan

Richard Bush III for the the Brookings Institution: On Dec. 26, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, where, since the late 19th century, the souls of Japan's war dead have been enshrined. Because 14 Class A war criminals from World War II are among those enshrined, China, which Japan invaded in the 1930s, has always taken offense when Japanese prime ministers have gone to Yasukuni to pay their respects. It has regarded these visits as a negative indicator of Japan's future intentions. This latest occasion was no exception, and tensions between the two countries have risen as a result. That may not have been Prime Minister Abe's intention, but that was certainly the result.

China's rhetorical response has been harsh, but in other respects, the reaction is somewhat restrained. There have been no anti-Abe demonstrations. ...

What will be China's response beyond the short term? Actually, we have seen this movie before -- from 2001 to 2006 when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni repeatedly, ignoring China's concerns. Japan-China relations went into the deep freeze and Beijing undertook a series of policy measures. …

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