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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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