The Chronic Jobless

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Mitch McConnell blasted President Obama’s plan to extend unemployment insurance yesterday by claiming that his trillion dollar stimulus had failed and pointing to the “three chronically unemployed Americans” who stood next to Obama at a press conference on Monday as evidence. Greg Sargent:

The GOP game plan: Amid the debate over benefits, point to “chronic” joblessness — that’s a word you’ll be hearing more often — in order to illustrate that Dem economic policies are failing.

And later: While it’s unanimously assumed that Dems hold all the political cards in this standoff, Republicans have their own strategy here. They believe that while Dems can milk this for short term advantage, over time any discussion of “chronic” joblessness — a term you’ll hear more often — draws attention to the failure of Dem economic policies and feeds the GOP’s larger critique of the inefficacy of the Dems’ big spending ways.

True — but I think there’s something more to it: talking about “chronic” joblessness is also a way of suggesting that some of the unemployed are shiftless and lazy. Someone who’s “chronically unemployed” isn’t your unlucky next door neighbor, it’s those guys in the ghetto or down in the hollow who just hang around all day and have never held an honest job in their lives for more than a few weeks at a time. Are these the kind of people you want to run up the national debt for?

I didn’t think so. But guess what? Democrats do!

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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