THE GOP STILL DOESN’T LIKE THE UNEMPLOYED…. At an event in his Texas district this week, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) explained how he perceives those Americans struggling to find work.
“We’ve gotta, you know, nobody wants to starve anybody. Everybody wants to help folks out. But we’ve got a system where you can stay on unemployment for an awfully long time. And I think we need to create a system of decreasing benefits over time to encourage you to get a job. I think anybody who’s had an alcoholic in their life or somebody with a drug problem, realizes that until things get bad enough there’s no incentive to change.”
Republican media personalities continue to make similar remarks.
I mention this in part because it’s so offensive, and in part because it speaks to a larger truth. We can talk about Republican opposition to job creation, and we can marvel at the GOP’s “so be it” attitude when told that the party’s economic agenda would make unemployment worse.
But one of the more remarkable developments of the last couple of years is the number of Republicans who’ve shown outright hostility towards those who’ve lost their jobs.
Look at Farenthold’s quote again. He not only thinks the jobless are struggling on purpose — he’s apparently unaware there are roughly six unemployed Americans for every job opening — the GOP congressman also equates the unemployed with alcoholics and drug addicts.
Farenthold looks at those Americans struggling to find work in a weak economy and he’s almost annoyed with them.
And it’s not just Farenthold. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) dismissed jobless aid as money that offers “a disincentive” to getting a job, a sentiment endorsed by Sen. Richard Burr (R), among others.
Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) compared the unemployed to “hobos”; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said those without jobs won’t look until their benefits run out; and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said the unemployed choose not to work because of the benefits.
Several other Republicans, including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, want to impose mandatory drug testing for the jobless — because if you can’t find work, you’re not only to blame, you’re also a suspected addict.
The moral of the story seems to be that Republicans just don’t like the unemployed. What did the unemployed ever do to offend the GOP this much?