The executive branch in Arizona understands things about unemployment that the legislative branch doesn’t

08 Jun 2011 11:05 pm
Posted by: Donna

Cartoonist Ted Rall captures the current hiring environment:

Unemployment

From Governor Brewer’s Republic op-ed today:

Believe me, extending unemployment assistance isn’t something I want to do. In fact, the idea of anyone being on unemployment aid for nearly two full years is contrary to everything I believe as a conservative.

But we have to acknowledge there are forces at play here larger than the inability or unwillingness of some people to find work. In April, 14,000 Arizonans applied for 1,300 positions at local McDonald’s restaurants. Just last month, 2,600 people applied for one of about 400 different jobs at Bashas’

(Predictably, she goes on to blame Obama for Arizona’s problems. This deflection of blame on the part of Republicans is so frequent that I think it warrants a new acronym, along the lines of IOKIYAR: INYFIYAR. It’s Never Your Fault If You Are Republican. But I digress.)

What’s clear here is that Team Brewer is taking a (sort of) keen-eyed pragmatic approach to Arizona’s unemployment situation – 6 job seekers applying for every opening being what we’d call a “sub-optimal state of affairs”. Team Brewer understands that taking millions in Federal dollars out of the Arizona economy will hurt the economy and further exacerbate the employment death spiral illustrated by the cartoon at the top of this post.

Meanwhile Team Republican Legislators, inspired by the Austerity Fairy Freedom Unicorns, maintains the position in an economy where 60% of employers are checking credit scores, that starving people is a great way to motivate them.

“There are jobs that people can find, but people are sitting, waiting for a job like the one they had,” Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce said June 3 in a telephone interview, explaining why he and most of his Republican colleagues oppose extending benefits. If recipients are cut off, they “would find something to do,” he said.

Some things they find to do could include “voting against the assholes who cut off my unemployment when I couldn’t even get a job at McDonald’s”. The thing is that people collecting unemployment benefits aren’t as easy to marginalize and demean as popular targets of right wing ire like poor welfare recipients and undocumented immigrants. These are people who previously had good jobs and positions in the community. They’ve fallen on hard times and are struggling to get back on their feet. They’re former members of the middle class who propelled Jan Brewer and many Republican legislators into office. They, and their families and friends, are a big voting bloc. Governor Brewer, whose team seems to have a grasp on this, is not even up for reelection in 2012. But every single Arizona legislator is.

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