Sometime this spring, Republicans turned against unemployment. In Nevada, Sharron Angle (R), the candidate facing incumbent Sen. Harry Reid (D), told local reporters, “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job.” (Untrue.) Angle also called the unemployed “spoiled.”
Late Thursday afternoon, President Obama signed into law a bill granting workers out of a job for more than 26 weeks additional unemployment insurance payments, paid for by the federal government. The benefits had been in place since November 2009, but had lapsed for seven weeks — an unprecedented hiatus, given the 9.5 percent unemployment rate. The bill, held up in the Senate by Republicans concerned about the deficit, makes benefits retroactive to June 2 and forward to Nov. 30. In states with higher than 8 percent unemployment, workers will continue to receive up to 99 weeks of benefits.