Retiring Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky launched a personal "crusade" for fiscal responsibility last Thursday by blocking an extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for 400,000 Americans who lost their jobs during the recession. According to Bunning, the $10 billion jobless benefits package — proposed by fellow Republican Sen. John Kyl and strongly supported by members of both parties — is just another example of reckless Congressional spending. In response to pleas from a Democrat senator to lift his block, Bunning replied, "Tough sh-t." Is Sen. Bunning taking a necessary stand, or just being a "heartless" jerk? (Watch Jim Bunning's blocking of the unemployment extension)
This reeks of hypocrisy: "It should be a no-brainer to extend unemployment insurance when around 1 out of every 10 workers is unemployed," says The New York Times in an editorial. But despite not having "a problem with blowing up the deficit for the Iraq war and tax cuts," Bunning has inexplicably become "a deficit hawk when it comes to average Americans."
"Clueless in Kentucky"
Bunning is doing what other Beltway pols are afraid to do: Bunning may be "unpopular with his constituents" and the GOP, says Kelly McParland in National Post, but "he's under fire for doing exactly what most of Washington has been demanding of itself for years: Pay for its programs, quit passing bills that aren't funded, stop adding to the deficit for the sake of political expediency."
"A lesson for politicians who keep their promises"
This is a bad message to send to Amercans: Of course, the deficit is a problem, says Yobie Benjamin in the San Francisco Chronicle. But "strangling" cash-strapped Americans "is not the way to solve the deficit." Unfortunately for the unemployed, our government only consists of "mean-spirited" Republicans and "spineless Democrats" who are incapable of solving problems. So, if you're relying on your next benefits check to get by... well, "tough sh-t."
"Republican Bunning blocks unemployment benefits; Democrats play dead"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Uber, and the growing threat of corporate surveillance
- The myth of the stay-at-home dad
- What could happen if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare
Subscribe to the Week