How Republican Governors are lying to the Unemployed

ImageA major talking point of the Republican governors who are not going to take the unemployment funds in the stimulus bill is that it is a permanent tax increase, but by looking at the bill, it is clear that potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, and Mark Sanford are at best wrong, or even worse, lying.

Here is what Gov. Jindal (R-LA) said on Meet The Press today, “Well, it, it’s–no. The $100 million we turned down was temporary federal dollars that would require us to change our unemployment laws. That would’ve actually raised taxes on Louisiana businesses. We as a state would’ve been responsible for paying for those benefits after the federal money disappeared… If you actually read the bill, there’s one problem with that. The word permanent is in the bill. It requires the state to make a permanent change in our law. Law B–our employer group agrees with me. They say, “Yes, this will result an increase in taxes on our businesses, this will result in a permanent obligation on the state of Louisiana.”

Gov. Barbour (R-MS) said on CNN’s State of the Union, “There is some (stimulus money) we will not take in Mississippi. If we were to take the unemployment insurance reform package that they have, it would cause us to raise taxes on employment when the money runs out, and the money will run out in a couple of years. Then we’ll have to raise the unemployment insurance tax, which is literally a tax on employment. I mean, we want more jobs. You don’t get more jobs by putting an extra tax on creating jobs.”

Gov. Sanford (R-SC) said that the bill would require his state to cover part-time workers, “What we would be required to do would be, for the first time, increase the level of benefit for part-time workers. Right now, it’s full-time workers — increase it to part-time workers. We can’t pay for the benefits already in the program, but to get the stimulus money, we’ve got to increase the program’s size and scale.”

Here is the text of the bill’s unemployment section, which can be found in Title VII of the bill, “For an additional amount for ‘State Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service Operations’ for grants to States in accordance with section 6 of the Wagner-Peyser Act, $400,000,000, which may be expended from the Employment Security Administration Account in the Unemployment Trust Fund, and which shall be available for obligation on the date of enactment of this Act: Provided, That such funds shall remain available to the States through September 30, 2010.”

First off, someone needs to tell Gov. Jindal that the word permanent does not appear in the text. The question is where are Republicans getting the lie that this is a permanent tax increase? The answer can be found in Section VI of the Wagner-Peyser Act, which says, “No State’s allotment under this section for any fiscal year shall be less that 90 percent of its allotment percentage for the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the determination is made.”

Jindal and the others are making a very faulty assumption here. They are assuming that the unemployment rate will stay high in 2010, and they also make the assumption that the federal government will not provide any additional funding. Their first assumption is possible, but the second won’t happen. It would be unprecedented for the federal government to cut funding while unemployment is high. No matter what party is in control, this doesn’t happen.

What is really going on here is that these governors are willing to put their own political ambitions ahead of the needs of the people of their state. All three of these gentlemen want to run for the Republican nomination in 2012, and they think that they will endear themselves to the GOP base by taking a hard line against the stimulus. If this means twisting the truth and hurting the unemployed in their states, so be it. Their position is based on cold political calculus, which may benefit them with Republicans, but would destroy them if any one of them were lucky enough to become the GOP nominee.

8 Replies to “How Republican Governors are lying to the Unemployed”

  1. I agree the Republican Governors should take the money then when the fed money runs out just change the law and dump the unemployed out in the cold. They can not raise the taxes and keep the higher unemployment freeb’s going so kick those guys to the curb it is the only democratic thing to do.

  2. I agree the Republican Governors should take the money then when the fed money runs out just change the law and dump the unemployed out in the cold. They can not raise the taxes and keep the higher unemployment freeb’s going so kick those guys to the curb it is the only democratic thing to do.

  3. Calculus is not about bending the truth to fit the needs and ambitions of the person using it. Choose your words carefully. A lot of people don’t like calculus, lets not make it a pejorative.

  4. WOW What will Jindal think of next? Using dead homeless for food? Legalizing indentured servitude for the unemployed? How about state work-permits issued by religious affiliation and race (in that order)? I’m so excited to see the next generation of this hocus pocus “Compassionate Conservatism” meets “Fiscal Responsibility” policy that these very tragic Republicans have been left with. Face it, the Republican party as it was imagined is dead. There is no future for a party whose core values have winnowed themselves out to be: 1) religious intolerance bordering on fanatacism, 2) Laissez Faire Plutocracy, and 3) Soviet/National Socialist Style propagandism… Truth hurts, but it can also set you free. If you have any political principles remaining, you will become a libertarian or simply start voting independent. There is no Republican party, and any attempt to raise it from the dead will easily result in a 1930s Germany style fascism… No more Hitlers. No more Cheneys, please.

  5. I don’t see why they need to err on the side of getting more funding after 2010, something yet to be written in stone or even paper, when they could just as soon deal with their own problems like they’re supposed to. I don’t care why they’re refusing the money, that’s a few billion less that my grandchildren won’t owe the federal government.

  6. […] that he will turn down the unemployment compensation part of the stimulus. In fact, he has been lying to the unemployed. What we will see tonight is that Jindal doesn’t match up well with Obama. I […]

  7. Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No 14-09, Department of Labor, Feb 26, 2009 is where you will find the permanent stipulation to the state for the unemployment part of the state stimulus. In 2002, there was not strings attached when this happened. Now, they require the increase to remain permanent. Hmmm…so if you had three people working for you at 500 per week, and the govt said they would give you money to give them an extra 25 a week for two years, but you would have to keep it permanent, would you take it? Would you obligate yourself to an extra $75 a week out of your pocket after the two years were up? If you did, would you raise the price of the products your made or the services your provided? If the states accept this, after the two years are up, they will have to raise unemployment taxes. So those who are working get penalized for working. Our bosses can’t give us raises because their taxes on our work went up. I don’t have any particular party-affiliation, but I can say that I am not someone with my handout because I care about how it affects my neighbor and my grandchildren.

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