When it comes to extending unemployment benefits, congressional Republicans have become increasingly aggressive in demanding a series of “reforms.” GOP officials are eyeing a new system that would cut eligibility, require high-school degrees, and allow drug tests. By most measures, the ideas are misguided, offensive, and in some cases, both.

But in last night’s debate, Rick Santorum went a step further, arguing that jobless Americans should be cut off from aid faster, and adding this head-scratcher:

“What we should do, is have it just like welfare. Give it to the states, put a time limit. In the case of welfare, it was 40 weeks. Give flexibility to the states to operate those programs and even in unemployment, I mean, you can have as we did on welfare, have some sort of either work requirement or job training required as a condition. We’re not doing people any favors by keeping them on unemployment insurance for a long period of time.” [emphasis added]

So, in Santorum’s mind, it makes sense to require the unemployed to be employed before receiving unemployment benefits?

If you don’t have a job, you’ll be forced to get one before you’d be eligible to receive benefits that go to those without jobs?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.