It's astounding, but in the midst of an unemployment crisis, prominent Republicans continue to castigate those struggling to find jobs.
Yesterday, for example, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) argued that unemployment benefits are a bad idea, because, as he sees it, they discourage people from entering the work force.
"You know," DeLay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions of these unemployment benefits keeps people from going and finding jobs." When CNN's Candy Crowley described his argument as "a hard sell" to the public, DeLay replied, "It's the truth."
Crowley followed up, asking, "People are unemployed because they want to be?" DeLay again said, "Well, it is the truth."
When it comes to Republicans condemning the unemployed, there seems to be something of a trend of late. Two weeks ago, Rep. Dean Heller (R) of Nevada expressed concern that the government is "creating hobos" by extending unemployment benefits. Around the same time, Rep. Steve King, a right-wing Republican from Iowa, explained his opposition to extended unemployment benefits: "We shouldn't turn the 'safety net' into a hammock."
Last week, Senate Minority Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's #2 Republican, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting "because people are being paid even though they're not working." And this, of course, coincided with Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-Ky.) crusade against extending benefits.
---Steve Brenen, Washington Monthly, 3/8