An Epidemic of Laziness?

Paul Krugman, last Friday:

But that’s not how Republicans see it [unemployment benefits]. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Dancing DeLay agreed:

Crowley pointed out that saying “people are unemployed because they want to be” is a “hard sell.”

DeLay responded: “Well, it is the truth.”

Without trotting out all manner of charts and graphs [BR: Ok, one chart] to demonstrate how absurd this position is, I’ll make one comment and ask a few questions:

Comment:  This position — at its core — essentially labels Americans as lazy ne’er-do-wells who’d just as soon live off society’s largesse than earn a living. Is that really a position any politician would want to take?  Does anyone else find that as offensive as I do?  Anyone know someone who’s living on UI and lovin’ it?

Question for Senater Kyl and Dancing DeLay:  How would you explain the epidemic laziness that apparently afflicts Americans exactly at business cycle peaks, which is then somehow miraculously cured at business cycle troughs?

Interestingly, the JOLTS data was released just yesterday, and we see that there are still well over five unemployed for every job opening (near the recent record of over six, though there was an improvement in the number of job openings).  The un- and under- employment rates speak for themselves.  Comments like these should really be beneath any reasonable level of civil discourse.  It is pathetic that they’re not.


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