QUOTE OF THE DAY…. I don’t know who’s advising Sharron Angle (R), the extremist Senate candidate in Nevada, but those responsible for writing her talking points must be awfully frustrated. This week, Angle managed to argue — out loud, in public, and on the record — that unemployment benefits don’t benefit anyone.
Sitting down with conservative radio talk show host Heidi Harris, Angle once again addressed a topic that brought her a bit of political heat — including a hard-hitting ad from her opponent Harry Reid– not too long ago.
“People don’t want to be unemployed,” she explained. “They want to have real, full-time, permanent jobs with a future. That’s what they want, and we need to create that climate in Washington, D.C. that encourages businesses to create those full-time, permanent jobs with a future, and all [Rep.] Shelley Berkeley and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid want to do is put a band-aid on this by extending unemployment, which really doesn’t benefit anyone. What happens is of course that your skills stagnate. You become demoralized yourself, you know, feeling that I can’t ever get a job, and these are not the solutions to the problem. We have real solutions, but they won’t look at the real solutions.” [emphasis added]
This isn’t necessarily surprising. Angle has already accused jobless Americans, struggling to get by in an awful job market, of being “spoiled.” It stands to reason, then, that she actually believes this nonsense.
But it’s worth remembering all of the many reasons this is completely crazy. First, Angle is running in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. The Republican candidate hoping to represent those jobless Nevadans believes they don’t need any unemployment benefits at all? If those folks vote in November, Angle will lose in a landslide.
Second, as a substantive matter, Angle’s argument is beyond ridiculous. Unemployed workers rely on meager benefits to pay some bills and put food on the table — and insisting that the aid “doesn’t benefit anyone” is a slap in the face to those who’d have nothing without the government aid. For that matter, the evidence is overwhelming that these same benefits also boost the larger economy — they’re one of the single most effective forms of stimulus we have.
As for the larger partisan context, for most of the summer, Republicans insisted that they really do care about employment benefits and jobless Americans, they just don’t want extended aid to be added to the deficit. The GOP’s opposition isn’t about callousness — heaven forbid — it’s about fiscal responsibility.
But we continue to see just how dishonest this talking point is. Nevada’s Angle believes unemployment benefits don’t help anyone; Alaska’s Joe Miller believes unemployment benefits are unconstitutional; Kentucky’s Rand Paul thinks it’s time to cut the jobless off before we’re worse than Europe; and a wide variety of Republican lawmakers have said the aid to the unemployed is encouraging laziness.
It’s ironic, in a way. Unemployment will very likely cost Democrats their congressional majority, but it’s Republicans who seem to actively, personally dislike those who’ve lost their jobs.