A North Carolinian state legislator by the name of Jason Saine is trying to reset the bar of Republican party hypocrisy. In a perfect demonstration of the Republican “I’ve got mine, screw you” mentality, Mr. Saine received unemployment benefits of around $300 per week for more than a year before getting a job as a state lawmaker and voting to severely limit the type of benefits that fed his family.
Jason Saine apparently had slight ethical qualms about the vote, as revealed by the Huffington Post,
Saine says he wrestled with the decision to support the bill right up until the final moment before he cast his vote.
“I know some will try to frame it as hypocritical but I see it from all sides and there are no easy answers right now,” Saine told The Huffington Post. “It’s not a glorious vote by any measure.”
He does, however, have some semblance of intelligence, despite the apparent fact that he’s fresh out of empathy. He also made a statement saying that the myth that unemployed people are content to sit back and collect their government check is false; the admission of that, at least, is true. The myth of the “welfare queen” needs to die.
The new bill cuts benefits from lasting up to 73 weeks to lasting between 12 and 20; it also lowers the maximum amount of unemployment benefits you can get in North Carolina from $530 to $350. Interestingly, during the debate on whether or not to lower benefits (the goal is to pay off money they borrowed from the federal government, but because the 47 weeks that are cut are through a loss of eligibility in a federal program, it is unclear whether this move will save any notable amount of money), Saine failed to mention that he collected a year’s worth of benefits from the same program he voted to cut. Instead, one intrepid investigative journalist, Sarah Ovaska, with a group called N.C. Policy Watch, discovered that he had collected benefits when looking through ethics forms he had submitted to the state upon taking the job as a state legislator.
Despite struggling with the decision, Saine decided to vote to cut benefits because:
This year, confronted with the unemployment proposal, Saine weighed his personal experience against his belief that government borrowing and spending hasn’t generated enough jobs. He thinks it’s time to try something else, and figures lower business taxes could be that thing.
“On one hand [more unemployment spending] is saddling future generations with debt,” he said. “On the other, it’s this immediate help today, but the same help we’ve been doing for however many years now. It’s not turning the economy around.” (Huffington Post)
Given that the recession occurred during the Bush regime, and that we’ve had a somewhat steady general recovery, it appears that the economy is, indeed, turning around. One thing is for sure; cutting business taxes isn’t going to do anything for the economy other than increase wealth disparity by allowing rich businesses owners to put a little bit more into their pocket.
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