I have to wonder if someone on Ed Schultz's staff read Steve Benen's column on Jim DeMint's confused talking points, bashing the unemployed on CNN over the weekend, but it sure does look like it since he quoted the exact same portions of the show that Steve wrote about here -- The GOP still doesn't like the unemployed:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told CNN yesterday that he’s visited with a lot of business people lately, and he’s learned they’re “actually afraid to hire people” because they’re “afraid of what the government will do to them.”
That’s awfully dumb — when Republicans find evidence of government punishing employers for hiring workers, they should let everyone know — but it was the next part of the interview that really stood out.
“I have talked to a lot of businesses in South Carolina who can’t get employees to come back to work because they are getting unemployment and they’re getting food stamps and they say, ‘Call me when unemployment runs out.’ […]
“There are a lot of people who desperately need it and we need to make sure that we have that safety net in place, but we also have to realize there are a lot of people gaming the system right now.”
I’m not sure which of DeMint’s talking points were supposed to believe — are employers afraid to hire or are they struggling with lazy people who won’t apply for openings? — but the rhetoric is a reminder that Republicans just don’t seem to like the unemployed.
In DeMint’s mind, the jobless are living it up on meager unemployed benefits, and don’t want to seek gainful employment. In reality, the number of applicants outnumbers the number of job openings by about a six-to-one margin*, and the private sector isn’t hiring as much because of a lack in demand — a problem DeMint intends to make worse through an austerity agenda.
Steve went on to write about how surprised he is at the out and out hostility we've seen from Republicans on this matter, given just how terrible our unemployment problem is right now in the United States and gave some other examples of Republicans making similarly hostile comments about the unemployed as well.
Personally I think politicians like DeMint and his ilk are so used to being able to get away with this as a form of race-baiting that they just can't stop themselves, even though it's long past time it started backfiring on them. We're not going to get rid of DeMint any time soon, but it would be nice to see his "tea party" cohorts in the House finding themselves looking for new jobs after the next election if they think it's a good idea to follow his lead.