If unemployment benefits were purely state-based, the zillions of unemployed would have been out of options 26 weeks after they lost their jobs. Given that we have millions who have run out after 99 weeks, and of those 99 weeks, 73 of them were funded by the federal government, imagine the disaster in store.
Yet, this is exactly what Joe Miller argues.
Miller is running on a self-described constitutional conservative platform, arguing that the nation must return to the principles and powers penned by the founding fathers to save it from bankruptcy. Putting an end to entitlements on a national level and empowering states has been a key message in his campaign.
In the weeks leading up to the admission about his wife's unemployment history, Miller has finessed his message on unemployment benefits, saying he's not opposed to them but that they should be managed by the states -- not the feds.
Wait. What's that, you say? What admission about his wife's unemployment history? Oh, I forgot to mention it, didn't I? Here you go:
Miller held the magistrate position for the District Court out of Fairbanks from June 21, 2002 through June 1, 2004, earning a total of $71,418. Kathleen Miller worked as a part-time clerk for him from June 2002 to December 2002, according to a resume she submitted to the state last year when she pursued an appointment to the Alaska Judicial Council.
After she left her clerk job, she briefly went on state unemployment, Miller acknowledged in a statement:
My wife, Kathleen, did work for me as a magistrate judge clerk/secretary while I was a part-time Federal Magistrate judge from 2002 to 2004. Before 2004 there was a long-standing practice, both in Fairbanks as well as other areas in the United States, that due to the time commitments of being a lawyer and a part-time Federal Magistrate judge the same individuals that worked in your private law offices also worked in your federal magistrate office - many of those being family members. Before even applying for the Fairbanks Magistrate judgeship I spoke with members of the federal court concerning the employment of Kathleen. It was confirmed that she could work for me in my office. After leaving my office Kathleen did receive unemployment benefits for a short period of time.
I don't begrudge her right to unemployment benefits. What I resent is this guy spouting off about what deadbeats people on unemployment are, and how we don't need government and we don't need safety nets and we should all just bootstrap ourselves to wild success. That's what I resent, because when someone's boot is on your neck what you need is a hand up, not a kick in the face.
It is this hypocrisy and selfishness that makes my loathing of the tea party and their candidates so visceral. All the hand-wringing over debt left to future generations is pure nonsense when all it would take to fix it is a tax increase -- one long overdue.