Hobos and hammocks

HOBOS AND HAMMOCKS…. One of the more frustrating political stories of the day is the effort of one far-right Republican senator to block extended unemployment benefits, which will expire on Sunday. It’s a reminder, though, that some conservative lawmakers seem to have something against the unemployed.

Take Rep. Dean Heller (R) of Nevada, for example. (via Pat Garofalo)

Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs. He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce. “I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing.

“Is the government now creating hobos?” he asked.

This comes just a couple of weeks after 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.” (via reader B.D.)

Those of you who’ve lost your jobs and are struggling to find work in a weak economy? Some conservative Republican lawmakers seem to think you’re lazy.

The Republican brand of “populism” sure is odd.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.