It depends on the meaning of ‘extraordinary’

IT DEPENDS ON THE MEANING OF ‘EXTRAORDINARY’…. The head of the Republican Party in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently told Time that shameless criminal Gov.-elect Rick Scott (R) “is going to be within six months of taking office one of the most extraordinary national figures we’ve seen in years.”

Depending on how one defines “extraordinary,” that might well be true. If one takes it to mean “very unusual” and “far outside the norm,” then sure, Scott might well prove to be extraordinary, but not in a good way.

The incoming governor, elected despite massive fraud and corruption allegations, has already caused several stirs. It was Scott and his team, for example, who raised the prospect of privatizing all public education in the Sunshine State, scrapping state support for public hospitals, and cancelling infrastructure investment plans that would create 24,000 jobs for Floridians.

Now we see Scott’s economic team targeting unemployed Floridians, insisting the jobless are lazy.

“According to [former U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan] Krueger’s research, the amount of time people on UC spent looking for a job averaged only 20 minutes a day! Within 2 weeks of UC ending, that increased but to only 70 minutes a day,” states the document, noting that the median duration of unemployment benefits receipt has increased nationally from 10 weeks to 18.7 weeks.

The team’s recommendations: tighten job-search requirements for people getting benefits, cut off assistance for those who don’t comply and assign community work for those who don’t get a job in 12 weeks. Goals: increase employment and reduce the payout of unemployment benefits, as well as the unemployment compensation tax burden on businesses.

As it turns out, Krueger’s research was badly misrepresented by Scott’s economic team, and the fact that the incoming governor’s aides couldn’t understand the research does not bode well for the Scott administration’s competency.

Policy ignorance and illiteracy notwithstanding, the fact that the governor-elect and his team are already planning to make it even harder on those struggling to find jobs says a great deal about their priorities.

One might even call it “extraordinary.”