Todd Buchholz, an economic adviser to the elder President Bush, thinks the idea of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is foolish. It gives people little incentive to find work, he writes in the Washington Post. His solution: Cut off benefits at 39 weeks but add a "signing bonus" for those who land jobs. "After 26 weeks of receiving benefits, a job-seeker would be eligible for a 'signing bonus' equal to three additional months of benefits if he or she took a full-time job," writes Buchholz. After 39 weeks, benefits expire but workers would be eligible for a two-month bonus. After 52 weeks, the bonus disappears.
"This plan would create a greater incentive to take a job after 26 weeks than after 39 weeks, and a huge incentive to go back to work before a year has passed," writes Buchholz. "The longer one holds out, the less one gets." It may sound harsh going from 99 to 39 weeks, he writes, "but the signing bonus effectively would give the job-taker 11 months of support."