State GOP looks to limit unemployment benefits

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 9:05pm

At their own political peril, Tennessee Republicans are getting behind a business lobby campaign to make it harder for workers to collect unemployment benefits.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey already has drawn heavy criticism in the liberal blogosphere and elsewhere for painting many jobless people as slackers on the dole.

“When does it become a benefit and when does it become a lifestyle?” Ramsey, R-Blountville, asked about the unemployment compensation system. “There are jobs out there. ... It may not be the job you want, but there are jobs out there.”

Since Ramsey made those remarks at a business luncheon in Kingsport, Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, has called for drug-testing workers as a condition for unemployment benefits.

“If people are doing drugs, I don’t think they should receive the benefits,” Campfield told The City Paper. “There are limited dollars. Our employers are stretched to the bone already paying their unemployment premiums. We’re losing businesses left and right. If we’re going to give out benefits, we should give them to people who are not sitting home getting stoned all day but who are actually out trying to find work.”

At the opening meeting of the state House Republican task force on jobs and economic growth, the chairman publicly complained about the 20-week federal extension of unemployment benefits. It was only at the 11th hour of this year’s session that Republican lawmakers grudgingly went along with that.

“We’re making it too easy,” Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, said.

Democrats may be downtrodden in Tennessee, but they still know a golden opportunity when they see one. With the unemployment rate running at nearly 10 percent in Tennessee, Republicans risk looking like the cold-hearted skinflints of their critics’ caricature. Democrats calculate many voters will recoil from politicians who bash the jobless.

Weekly unemployment benefits in Tennessee average $234, and 120,000 people now are receiving aid in this state.

State Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester accused Ramsey of “demonizing Tennesseans looking for work” after failing to enact any meaningful legislation to create jobs in the last session.

“Welcome to reality, Lt. Gov. Ramsey, Tennessee doesn’t have a shortage of work ethic — Tennessee has a shortage of work,” Forrester said.

He cited a string of examples of workers swamping companies with job applications. Five thousand people waited in line in hopes of landing one of 1,600 jobs at Nissan in Smyrna, for instance, and Wacker Chemie in Bradley County received 10,000 applications for 130 hires.

Forrester called Campfield’s drug-testing proposal “another way to hand over more of our hard-earned tax dollars to big drug-testing corporations.”

“With our state economy still struggling, we should be investing in our future by retraining our workforce and fixing our bridges and schools,” he said. “Instead Senator Campfield has come up with another extreme stunt in a long line of ideas that do nothing to put Tennesseans back to work.”

Ramsey seems to have recognized a political misstep. While not backing away from his main point, the Senate speaker lately has toned down his criticism of the jobless and tried to appear cognizant of the financial difficulties some workers and families face.

“I know it’s tough times,” he said. “I’m not downplaying that at all. But I also know that in some cases there are jobs available if people would be willing to do it. Since I’ve made those comments, I’ve been inundated by employers who say this is exactly what is happening. One in Columbia, Tenn., called me last week and said, if you hire somebody, you usually have to hire somebody who’s already got a job. It’s hard to hire somebody off unemployment. This isn’t anecdotal. This can be backed up.”

Jim Brown, director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Tennessee, said his members are demanding that the state scale back the unemployment benefit program.

In 2009, the legislature raised taxes on businesses to ensure the solvency of the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The tax increase averaged $108 annually for each employee. Brown said that levy has hurt businesses and the economy.

The NFIB is considering asking the legislature to decrease the number of weeks that benefits may be given. Like most states, Tennessee provides 26 weeks of benefits, the maximum allowed under federal law. But many states are cutting back. Arkansas now gives only 25 weeks, for instance, and it’s only 20 weeks in Missouri and South Carolina.

Brown said the NFIB might favor a sliding scale of weeks tied to the unemployment rate — the lower the rate, the fewer weeks of benefits allowed. In Florida, Brown pointed out, the maximum benefit is 23 weeks and that drops to 12 weeks when the unemployment rate is 5 percent or lower.

In addition, the NFIB will propose tightening the statutory definition of employee misconduct so more workers could be denied benefits, Brown said. And he said the NFIB hopes the legislature will change the law to force workers to document that they are looking for jobs while receiving benefits.

Under state law, workers must certify weekly they are looking for work. But they don’t have to provide contact information for specific employers. Brown said the NFIB is thinking about supporting a requirement like the one in Florida’s new law. It forces workers to certify online that they are searching for a job, specifically naming the employers to whom they’ve applied, or to visit a one-stop career center once a week.

Gov. Bill Haslam has said he’s thinking about whether to support any changes in the law. Even if he decides to sit out this issue, he likely would acquiesce to the legislature should Republicans decide to go forward. Still, even Brown acknowledges the politics are iffy.

“The politics of this is obviously very important,” Brown said, adding that Republicans can sell reducing unemployment benefits as a way to put more people to work. “You’re actually helping people and not hurting them. It’s going to take some educating. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”    

39 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 12/5/11 at 12:38

Of coursse our wimpy governor will go along with his GOP friends. Let's kick the umemployed where it hurts the most. If these republicans cannot do what is right for most of Tennessee, we must vote them out of ofifce. Wake up TN, see what you vote has gotten us.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 6:13

Quote: Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, has called for drug-testing workers as a condition for unemployment benefits.

Campfield must be getting kickbacks from the highly profitable drug-testing industry. Let's start the drug testing with the lawmakers themselves...starting from the top down...all their staff members too.

Of course, they don't enforce laws from the top down; in Amerika, we start with incarcerating the poorest citizens first...lawmakers are often exempt from the laws they themselves enact.

Making drug tests a prerequisite for receiving entitlements could be a slippery slope into heretical Christian theocracy and more Nanny State governance.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 6:38

Storyline - The Unemployment Christmas Story - Tennessee Style - 2011:

Ebeneezer Scrooge wants to take back the Christmas goose that Tiny Tim's family got from the welfare department....Scrooge bribed the politicians and they now want Tiny Tim's dad to pass a drug test in order to get the government goose....Scrooge's miscreant nephew runs the Drug Testing lab....Scrooge gets to keep all the geese that the poor folks no longer qualify for.

Heartwarming.

By: govskeptic on 12/5/11 at 6:55

Don't worry Loner none of these proposals involve your Postal Pension
in upstate New York! Thanks for the daily moral clarity on these issues.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 7:08

Let's examine what is being proposed here. The Republican party and it's Tea Party fringe has bought into the stereotype that right-wing hate radio has created to describe the typical unemployed American worker.

This stereotypical image is that of a lazy slob who sits around all day watching cable TV, getting drunk and getting stoned - gaming the system and milking the working public for undeserved perks.

So, what's next on the agenda for the "limited government" Republicans? Will there be random sobriety tests of beneficiaries for this and other govt. programs?

Will Cable TV and other luxuries be prohibited, if one is receiving govt. benefits?

Will we extend these added "clean & sober" pre-conditions for qualifying for entitlements to programs like Educational Loans, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

This sort of nanny state, morality-based lawmaking is hard to stop, once the wall of separation between church & state is breached, as it has been in states like Tennessee.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 7:10

You are welcome, Govseptic...my pleasure. Now, if you would only address my points, instead of trying to denigrate me personally, we might actually make some progress. Give it a shot.

By: pam harrison on 12/5/11 at 7:48

you get what you vote for - as usual the repugnicans are only looking out for their own pockets and their hope of getting re-elected by the other me first people.

By: DREIFMA on 12/5/11 at 8:17

Drug testing for any benefits is not an unreasonable requirement. That said, those that are having trouble finding jobs related to their previous line of work should not be cutoff because they ran out of "time". In the mean time the democrats should stop blocking good paying jobs like they have on the Keystone II pipeline and blocking exploratory drilling for the shale gas and oil. There are at least 100,000 middle class quality jobs being eliminated by the liberal democrats. That number will rise as the need for imported fuels increases. What a tragedy this administration has been for our country.

By: GoodGrief on 12/5/11 at 8:29

If there are no people receiving unemployment benefits who are not really attempting to find work, and not sitting on the couch getting high, then this is a moot point. It will not affect anyone,... right?
We can't have it both ways here. Either there are people who are abusing the system or there are not. If there are, they are tarnishing the respectability of the people we all agree are deserving.
Fiscal responsibility is something we try to teach to our kids. If your going to spend your money, don't just throw it away. Spend it where you are getting what you pay for..... I'm just sayin'..

By: RustyACE on 12/5/11 at 8:30

Dear Jeff Woods,

Unemployment benefits are paid by the employers to pay people NOT to work.

If your job is TO NOT FIND WORK, how long do you think you will not find a job? Answer, Just before the benefits run out.

Norway used to offer 5 years of unemployment, and they discovered that people found a job on average in month 59.

So they shortened it to 4 years, and magically they found a job in month 47.

So they shortened it to 3 years, and magically they found a job in month 35.

So they shortened it to 2 years, and magically they found a job in month 23.

I personally feel that there should be the original 6 weeks of unemployment, just enough time to find something else.

You get more willing to do anything, when you've got nothing to gain by not finding a job.

Taking money from hard working Tennesseans to pay NON WORKING Tennesseans is not a good model.

Unemployment benefits are a severance package paid for by every employer in TN. It increases the expense that an employer has to pay to have the employees that they do have, and decreases the ability to hire new employees.

So, you have created a system that creates fewer jobs, and then complain that there are not enough jobs.

Finally, there is some common sense coming from our state's legislature.

When you are broke, you don't go out and buy a new car, new home, new stuff. You cut back on your budget, and increase your revenue by working more jobs, part time jobs or altering your lifestyle to fit within your budget. The State of TN has to do the same.

Big Socialism will not fix your problems. It creates a special class of people who will always win by who they know. Socialists always use the super over educated, and others well meaning folks to manipulate the system. They think that they are super smart, and have thought of all the solutions, and their solution is the only one that will work. They are using you.

Big Capitalism, although not perfect, is the only system that allows each individual the opportunity to rise to the top. Not based on your political connections, but your ability to supply a product or service that others demand of you.

By: treehugger7 on 12/5/11 at 8:30

Keystone is not going to help anyone in tennessee. It will help the oil companies continue to fleece us and ruin our environment. It is a poor solution. Better than that, get those stupid SUVs off the road and save what oil we can. The only reason people need those Stupid, Useless Vehicles is that they are too fat to sit in a real car! Lose weight, save gas! Say NO to Keystone!!

By: jvh2b on 12/5/11 at 8:47

If those of you who are all for this can live on 1k a month and feed your families and still find the time to pay your bills and smoke dope...then kudos to you...you apparently know where to get groceries at .01 an item.

Here's an idea to compromise though...instead of wasting thousands of tax payer dollars on drug test that will likely come back negative for 99% of the population, have the employers (who often drug test anyways) submit positive results to the unemployment board!

And BINGO, no wasted monies and you filter out the drug abusers.

By: EDUNITED on 12/5/11 at 8:50

There is some truth to what Ramsey says, which the far-left won't admit. I have also seen or had applicants who seem to be using unemployment benefits as a career option. I've met more than one applicant who explicitly told me that he only wanted his paper signed, he didn't want a job. There are others, especially people over 50 y/o whom employers don't want to hire. I know several people who are well-qualified, but cannot find other than menial employment.

I am not opposed to paying unemployment benefits for a period of time. Whether than period is 12, 24, or 36 months, I think we need to use the scientific data to set. Feeling bad and giving people "government money" is a poor solution.

I do agree that drug testing for benefits is a reasonable idea. Otherwise, we as the government are rewarding illegal behavior. Unemployment benefits are a cross between charity, which is a helping hand, and a crutch for those who don't want to work.

The moral hazard is the current top-down system that does not differentiate those who want to work from those who don't. Go back to Econ 101 and see "Free Riders." Government always has a top-down solution. After all, the decision makers think that they are the smartest in the room.

Ed vanVoorhees
www.EvVMgt.com

By: BenDover on 12/5/11 at 8:58

This article is misclassified. It should reside firmly in the editorial section.

I know several people who used unemployment insurance as extended vacation pay up to the end of extended benefits. It's really not uncommon at all. It is, however, a total political loser with no real up-side to point it out.

By: BenDover on 12/5/11 at 9:01

Since the government is largely responsible for the economic uncertainty and regulatory advance that is responsible for this horrible job market; such a push is a mine field and the politicos who go down that path are going to pay for their ignorance.

It's like pointing out that the minimum wage kills jobs.

By: Ask01 on 12/5/11 at 10:02

There is a danger the Republican Party and others are neglecting.

The chronic unemployed will find other ways to scam the system. My observation is they have adapted to the barest level of existence and will adapt their behavior to fit the situation. They are not the danger.

Many of the current unemployed, however, are from the middle class. Most have worked hard and established a certain lifestyle based on their ability to earn a regular wage. The shock of not only being suddenly unemployed, but unable to find employment is a bitter pill to swallow. (I can vouch for this from personal experience.)

Then, to have legislators class all unemployed as wastrels and leeches on society, while shamelessly supporting the business community which has seemingly abandoned workers while amply feathering their own nest, is essentially adding insult to injury.

The middle class, having lost much, with much to lose is where revolutions are bred. Not necessarily armed revolution, but revolution at the ballot box is almost a certainty. The GOP is poised, I believe, to loose heavily the next election cycle if they do not take steps tp encourage their wealthy and corporate donors to act upon the assertions they should not be heavily taxed as they create jobs, and actually create real employment.

History is replete with examples of what disastrous outcomes when people feel pushed to the brink and lash out. My personal favorite is the French Revolution, as the people left no doubt as to their ire, but other examples are available. Many will say such could never happen here, but rest assured the French aristocracy almost certainly held the same opinion, as did the elite classes in Tsarist Russia, Hungary. and other nations where the upper classes have been nearly exterminated.

I have a buffer, being retired military, (although I am seeking work if anyone is hiring as my rainy day umbrella is becoming tattered,) but many do not and when, not if, desperation ever sets in.....well, history has spoken on the possibilities.

As I said, the GOP needs to urge, strenuously urge, the wealthy and corporations live up to their mantra "We create jobs," or risk being ousted from power and replaced by a party which will assess higher taxes on wealth and corporate earnings.

I could be wrong, but if history is any guide.......

By: Left-of-Local on 12/5/11 at 10:04

Eff you, Ramsey.

Here's an idea, since you have discernible real-world skills, why don't YOU ditch your cushy political hookup and get a totally different job for half the pay? Oh wait... half YOUR pay would be a decent living. Never mind.

When will people rise up against the presumptuous greed of the GOP? When will people realize they are being used and abused by these liars?

Nobody should have to go from a career in a professional field to the fryer at McDonald's. The fat cat supporters of Ramsey and other greed-mongers should have created jobs with their Bush Tax Cuts while they had the chance. Then there'd be somewhere for these people to end up aside from the unemployment teat. But did they? No. They were busy with their "ownership society".

By: Ask01 on 12/5/11 at 10:46

I cannot help but wonder how the tune will change when those fortunate enough to have emplyment find themselves unemployed?

The current melody seems to be, "Get a job, I have one, why don't you," and I will admit to singing harmony on that little ditty, having berated my son for some time to find work. I, once one of the arrogantly employed, felt smugly, if unjustifiably superior.

Then came the day when, through no fault of my own, a victim of the economy and technology, I found myself unemployed while my offspring had begun climbing the ladder. I figured there was no problem, having been employed my whole life, with many skills, I should be able to secure a job with relative ease.

I had no idea.

After having deforested many acres filling out applications and distributing resumes, and becoming responsible for leather producing species driven to the brink of extinction, having worn out many shoes, I can appreciate the growing anger from the unemployed, underemployed, middle class.

Reports of corporations and financial institutions paying out massive compensation packages after accepting goverment bailouts while laying off workers, closing manufacturing concerns, and foreclosing on houses only fuel the anger.

Additionally, comments claiming the wealthy and corporations need tax breaks because they 'create jobs' have proven to be, so far as I have noted, all lies, and diversionary tactics to forestall taxation.

I believe Left-of-Local represents a growing segment of the population. If the ueber wealthy and mega corporations wish to sidestep taxation, they need to come together and create jobs; real, stable, full time, long term employment, which will stimulate spending. Local and small businesses can only do so much. It is now up to the mega corporations to determine the path the nation will follow.

Republicans and conservatives have often characterized, perhaps more accurately termed, demonized Democrats and their supporters as losers and those dependent on government handouts. The GOP may soon discover siding with business concerns, with no derivative benefit for the working class is driving many right into the opposite camp.

By: Bellecat on 12/5/11 at 12:17

Government turning a blind eye to business and Wall Street -essentially giving them free reign to destroy our county economically.
Companies sitting on billions of dollars.
CEO's getting millions in bonuses.
Republicans in congress opposing every single jobs bill .
Unemployment in double digits.

NO JOB CREATION.

Remember-- government can make economic policies and regulations which impact our economy positively OR negatively. It is not the unemployed's fault that there are no jobs available. This has not been a recession we have been trying to live through. It has been a depression---but, no one wants that word spoken aloud--perception is everything after all. Business people want low wages, no regulations, no labor laws, no unemployment benefits. What a Utopia for business! I can just hear them in their little back room deal-making sessions.

Let's force those lazy poor people to work for us for as close to nothing as possible. Let's take away any benefits like insurance, sick days, vacations, whenever possible. After all they are not like us. They don't deserve those things.
Let's get rid of those ridiculous unemployment benefits.
Let's foreclose on their homes even when it isn't legal.
Let's rob them of their retirement--le them work until they die.
Let's put a stop to their union membership.
Let's not create jobs.
We will show them.

Ramsey needs to get out in the real world and get a real job. These politicians and business owners have an entitlement attitude--they are entitled to everything and the average citizen is entitled to Nothing.

People look at the facts. Look at the huge amounts of taxpayer money and benefits the politicians are taking for NOT doing the jobs WE hired them for. Then they have the nerve to try and take what little crumbs average people get. I do not like either party, but the republicans are trying to make economic slaves of the people in this country. They are disgusting beyond belief. It is past time to make that party obsolete. We need a middle class party--a real party of the people.

Vote these disgusting charlatans out in 2012.

By: dva56 on 12/5/11 at 1:06

Typical Teabag demagoguery; blame the victim as being undeserving while feeling good about yourself for punishing them for not being as successful as you.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 1:19

Dragged over from the Up for Debate thread:

Corporate welfare - that is to say collective welfare - is fine, according to the party of the rugged individualists; but helping out individuals presents a "moral hazard". That's a major flip-flop, baby.

When it comes to screwing the most vulnerable of our citizens, while rewarding the filthy-rich fat cats, the born-again Republicans are number one....what we are talking about is American faith-based fascism.....the Republicans claim that they are putting Christ's message into action....apparently Jesus hated the poor, he loved the wealthy and admired the military.

By: Loner on 12/5/11 at 2:08

Of course, Jesus, the Christ, according to all records, never held a job.

When He came upon working fishermen, He told them to drop their nets and follow Him. I never read any Scriptural passage in which Jesus of Nazareth ever said, in effect, "Get a job!"

Given all that, one wonders where the Christian Right, the GOP-TP base, are finding Scriptural grounding for their views regarding labor.

Did Jesus admonish the poor to get off their asses and find a wage-paying job? I don't think so.

Show me the place, in the New Testament, where Jesus ever called anyone lazy.

Any pastors, (or sheep), out there who can shed some light on that?

Thanks.

By: Jughead on 12/5/11 at 2:18

Ramsey is right---we have become a nation of entitlement parasites. I was a member of a local union years ago, and those guys worked unemployment like a business. Leeched off of government because they could.

Time to say they can't, at least forever. Libtards hate the idea of being responsible for themselves.

By: Jughead on 12/5/11 at 2:19

Many people are on unemployment because they don't want to work.

By: govskeptic on 12/5/11 at 2:20

Christ held a trade as Carpenter-very honorable then and now!
"Most" serious people out of a job are truly looking, both near and
far. You won't find many truly responsible that have drawn unemployment
over 26 weeks much less 99 and asking for more.

By: Ask01 on 12/5/11 at 3:00

Jughead, you seem very passionate on the issue of people getting back to work. For that I applaud you and ask you share with those of us desperately seeking employment the address of those offering employment.

I anxiously await a reply, as I will drop off my resume in person.

I've been looking for so long, I had begun to believe businesses were merely hanging out help wanted signs to amuse themselves seeing how many people would swarm in to fill out useless applications for non existent jobs.

Thank you for restoring my faith.

Or, are you perhaps one of those arrogantly employed who, while thumbing your nose at the out of work, who would actually be first in line for welfare, whining loudest, if laid off tomorrow?

By: pepawjoe on 12/5/11 at 7:03

As suggested by many and been suggested by some of many times, Here's a way to set up the unemployment system that will work.
If you draw an unemployment check, you will have to work to "EARN" that check.
The State of Tennessee is lacking in several areas for a need of employees to provide for many needed skilled and unskilled workers. With the need to provide many different services that are going undone in our state, why not let the unemployed fill that need.
It might just be worth the effort to get a need taken care of. Also, if like many ;people think, it will cut way back on what those people call slackers, lazies, etc.

By: brettcathey on 12/6/11 at 3:56

please correct me if I am wrong, but do we not currently and have had for some time had a republican controlled state government? So why haven't they fixed the unemployment problem? instead, they wanna over-regulate where they need to just let be. it's a good idea to make sure people that receive benefits from the state aren't doing anything illegal. but it's stupid to pay some private company to drug screen. i hate that our own elected officials think this low of the people that put them there. sometimes karma just doesn't come around fast enough.

By: brettcathey on 12/6/11 at 4:06

and some people will abuse any and every benefit we have. that's why it's already such a hassle to get it now. my thoughts are this: make the unemployment office an employment agency. give them benefits while the agency finds them work. another thought is a bit more complex. my theory is that if the people(business and people) were taxed substantially lower, people could save their own money, or not, their choice. we can still provide assistance in finding employment. just not in monetary form. this works for welfare, food stamps, and other government hand outs. being elected to office should be a privilege, not a big fat paycheck to create sub-committees that get additional pay. cut the pay of leaders since the government is not performing well, but give them a bonus when the economy and country is doing well and at peace.

By: wataboutbob on 12/6/11 at 7:43

If you don't know anyone not working or looking as long as they're collecting benefits, then you need to get out more. Maybe a small percentage, 10 - 15%, but that's a lot of our taxes paying for their extended vacations.
How many of those using our tax revenues to buy drugs while their kids go without the basics, more than you would probably believe.

This shouldn't be a political issue but one of just plain common sense! Make recipients prove they're looking for work and they're not doing drugs; why is that so difficult to understand?

By: Heffa on 12/6/11 at 8:13

I think the headline should have read "GOP looks to limit unemployment benefits for those not entitled to them". The lack of understanding how that system is taxed and how benefits are paid is shocking. You would think that a reporter would at least have some understanding of the system before going to print.

Here's a thought, the US Dept of Labor has determined that Tennessee is one of the worst states in the nation regarding errors in benefits to the tune of $100,000,000 per year, that's $2,000,000 per week out of the pockets of business.

Where's my raise you say, it just got delivered to someone who was not out work thru no fault of their own.

By: sidneyames on 12/6/11 at 9:02

Statistically if a person is on unemployment, they will take longer to get a job. After one is laid off, they should start immediately looking for work - of any type. But most are in the same attitude "it does not pay me what I'm worth" mode! My husband did not file for unemployment in July after being laid off. He has had steady work every week since then. Recently an employer who is looking at him to hire said "I see you have not filed for unemployment" and my husband said NO, I've been getting my own side jobs since July. The interviewer said "that's a good thing" and noted that it showed him that my husband was a "go-getter" and able to do what it takes to get the job done.

So sometimes unemployment is not the answer. I don't say that all people are lazy or just skimming by, but some are. And if they are honestly looking for work, then don't punish them. We all have to work together.

By: WickedTribe on 12/6/11 at 9:21

I think it should be harder to get unemployment for some people. Some people blatantly abuse the system by getting fired for legitimate reasons and still "winning" their unemployment payments.

But it being Republicans and all, any changes will no doubt cut into legitimate unemployment for people who were laid off or otherwise lost their job for illegitimate reasons beyond their control, because Republicans don't care about anything but corporations.

By: jwk6179 on 12/6/11 at 10:42

The company I worked for when I first got out of college in 1984 was bought out by another company 18 months after I started working there and being the low man on the Totem Pole, I was one of the first ones to get let go by the new company. I collected Unemployment for about 9 months before my benefits ran out. Part of the rules back then were that YOU HAD TO ACTIVELY LOOK FOR OTHER EMPLOYMENT WHILE YOU WERE GETTING UNEMPLOYMENT. IIf the state found out that you were not actively seeking employment, you Unemployment benefits would be cut off. Do those rules not exist today?

By: Rasputin72 on 12/6/11 at 2:50

This is great! If we can force the underclass into working we will cut down on the illegal immigrants coming into this country. Now we need to get really tough on the welfare and food stamp crown.

By: Left-of-Local on 12/6/11 at 2:57

Maybe we can force the UPPER class to work instead.

By: Loner on 12/7/11 at 12:14

Wow....the residual hate, jealousy and envy in the Bible Belt is palpable. Just look at these postings...I can understand how and why the KKK could have such popular support in the South for all those decades...the place is still filled with loathing and contempt....Southern hospitality is a Hollywood myth.

Does anyone in TN have a mammalian brain, or is the whole population working with primitive reptilian brains? I can see why nobody in TN believes in evolution...nobody there has evolved much beyond the Confederate level....slack-jawed white supremacists.

By: Rasputin72 on 12/7/11 at 3:00

Only a true southerner has seen the ravages and aftermath of "slavery"

By: Left-of-Local on 12/8/11 at 9:44

Yep, Loner. You'd think the rich around here would be more glad to have the privilege than to need to beat down those less fortunate even more than their greed-based choices and self-serving constructs already have...