Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment Compensation’

Those lazy unemployed

February 10, 2011

A meme is going around which that the reason the unemployment rate is persistently high is the extension of unemployment compensation benefits.  Here are some quotes I found in a brief Google search on “lazy unemployed.” [1]

Republican Sharron Angle, running for Senate in Nevada: “[W]e have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry and said, you don’t want the jobs that are available.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona): “[C]ontinuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa): “We shouldn’t turn the safety net into a hammock. It should actually be a safety net.”

Rep. Dan Heller (R-Nevada): “Is the government now creating hobos?”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “You know, we should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis), giving the official Republican reply to the 2011 State of the Union address: “If government’s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged …… we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.”

And here is a comment about free school lunches.

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

A difference between self-identified liberals and self-identified conservatives [2] is that when they see somebody in trouble, the former tend to think the person must have suffered some kind of misfortune while the latter think the person must have done something wrong to bring the problem on themselves.

That is why liberals call conservatives “mean-spirited,” and conservatives call liberals “bleeding hearts.”

I think of myself as a liberal.  When I see somebody in trouble, I tend to imagine myself in their place.  I admit this is a bias, but I don’t think you have to be a liberal to find the above statements mean-spirited.

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Another reason to end the filibuster

June 25, 2010

Long-term unemployment is the highest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking long-term unemployment.  Even under the optimistic projections of economic growth, it will be years before the job market gets back to 2007 levels.

And that doesn’t count the so-called “under-employed” – people like friends of mine with computer and engineering degrees who’ve scraped by as substitute school bus drivers or night managers in homeless shelters.

Yet 40 Republican Senators and one Blue Dog Democrat have the power to block the 57 Senators who want to extend unemployment compensation benefits.  Unless the Democrats make an issue of the filibuster, the opposition will have the power to (1) block anything they try to do and (2) blame them for failing to do anything.

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Playing political games with the unemployed

March 3, 2010

Senator James Bunning, the Kentucky Republican, has relented and allowed a vote on extension of unemployment benefits before the holdup could do much damage, and maybe this was his intention all along. But with long-term unemployment at record levels, this was a cruel game to play people who are just barely hanging on.

Maybe there was a time during the full-employment years of the 1950s and 1960s when unemployment compensation was regarded as a form of vacation pay, and workers didn’t start seriously looking for work until their benefits are exhausted.  But nobody who knows anybody who’s been looking for work recently would ever take that attitude, or think that people drawing unemployment compensation live high on the hog. (more…)