From the NY Times (via the comments, and I can not remember where), it appears that Republican governors are facing a little backlash for their political theatrics:
As governors in nine states, mostly in the South, consider rejecting millions of dollars in federal stimulus money for increased unemployment insurance, there is growing anger among the ranks of the jobless in those states that they could be left out of a significant government benefit.
The stimulus bill recently passed by Congress includes incentives to states to expand benefits to many more jobless people, including part-time workers and those who have cycled in and out of the work force, who are not covered in many states.
The Republican governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with Alaska and Idaho, have raised protests, saying that expansion could eventually require them to raise taxes.***
Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.
Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.***
“I don’t understand the whole thing,” said Kelley Joyce, 43, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., about indications from Gov. Mark Sanford that he may reject some of the stimulus financing in that state. “Apparently because he has money and he doesn’t have to worry about everybody else who doesn’t have money.”***
In Mr. Kight’s case, he was unemployed for the second half of 2007, after losing an earlier job he had at a different electronics manufacturer in a downsizing. As a result, when he applied for unemployment benefits, he did not have enough immediate work history to qualify.
“I have worked for so many years, a total of probably 30 years, contributing to the support system that helps people when they get in a tough spot like I’m in,” Mr. Kight said. “I haven’t needed it too much in the past, but I sure could use it right now.”
This should reinforce Larison’s point yesterday about the simple fact that the reason the GOP is hemorrhaging middle class votes is because they simply do not represent the best interests of the middle to lower classes. And has been pointed out numerous times, the Governors could simply amend the law after the federal money runs out- presumably by then we will be out of the recession and back into a growth period (or we hope). At any rate, Schumer and company are already working on this issue, trying force the governors into an all or none decision regarding stimulus funds:
No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice. The composition of the package was rightly dictated by economic considerations; we should not let the implementation of the package be dictated by political considerations.
From a purely political (and deeply cynical) standpoint, I would tell Chuck Schumer and company to cease and desist and instead keep handing these guys rope. Now, that would require standing by and letting people in need hurt, and since I am a new Democrat and an Obama voter, I am not allowed to be that cynical and must be earnest and concerned with the best interests of people, so clearly that is not an option.
But you have to at least appreciate the stupidity of the Governors. Given the choice between a couple hundred rich nitwits with “porkulus” signs play-acting at tea parties and thousands of their constituents, out of work, in need of assistance, and racking up poisonous credit card debt to temporarily stay afloat, and the Governors have chosen… the nitwits. And considering this recession is probably going to get worse before it gets better (and unemployment is a lagging indicator), all they are doing is giving their voters a crystal clear recent example of why they are unfit to lead.
Impressive, isn’t it?