January 8, 2014
Libertarian Senator Rand Paul has responded to comments backhandedly directed his way by the president regarding Paul’s belief that expanding the welfare state will ultimately harm the country.
During a speech on unemployment Tuesday, Obama specifically addressed comments made by Paul in an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
“I have heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed, because it saps their motivation to get a new job,” Obama said, without naming Paul. Sounding disgusted and pausing for an audience reaction, he continued “I really want to — I want to go at this for a second.”
“That really sells the American people short,” the President added. “I meet a lot of people. And I can’t name a time when I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job.”
“The long-term unemployed are not lazy. They are not lacking in motivation. They are coping with the aftermath of the worst economic crisis in generations,” the President stated, claiming “It’s hard out there. There are a lot of friends, a lot of our neighbors who have lost their jobs, and they are working their tails off every single day trying to find a new job.”
Hitting back Tuesday, Paul said “They can make all these emotional arguments, but their policies haven’t worked and unemployment is still a horrific problem in our country.”
Speaking on The Steve Malzberg Show, Paul said that Democrats “don’t truly care about the unemployed”, adding that he believes they are “demagoguing this issue,” and labeling Obama’s comments as “big-hearted, small-brained policy statements.”
The Senator drilled down into statistics to prove his point that aggressively extending unemployment benefits does not help fix unemployment.
“North Carolina reduced their unemployment benefits and their unemployment went from 8.9 percent to 7.4 percent. South Carolina did the same thing, reduced their unemployment 3.5 points. Missouri did the same thing, reduced their unemployment benefits, so their unemployment went down 2.5 points,” Paul said.
“So, really there is a direct correlation between extending benefits and having more unemployment… All of the studies also show that the longer you are unemployed, the less likely you are to get a job.” Paul added.
“So, if an employer looks at somebody who’s been unemployed for two months and someone who’s been unemployed for two years, the employer almost always, regardless of skills, chooses the [person] that’s only been out of work for two months.” the Senator concluded.
Paul also noted that raising unemployment benefits adds to the deficit, which in turn causes inflation, and sees the price of goods rise.
“The people who are least able to absorb inflation with food prices rising, with gas prices rising, are the poor and those on fixed incomes… So on the one sense, they have this big heart, they’re going to help all these people, but on the other sense, the $230 billion they borrowed to pay for unemployment insurance has actually hurt the working class and the poor by raising the prices of their goods.” said Paul.
During the appearance, Paul also responded to sustained attacks he has received from New York GOP Congressman Peter King, who has accused Paul of “hating America” for pressing forward with a lawsuit against the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. King also wondered out loud whether Paul would care if hundreds of Americans die as the result of a future terrorist attack.
Directly addressing King, Paul stated “There will always be people who succumb to fear and are ready and willing to trade their liberty for security, but there are serious constitutional questions here, and there are questions of whether or not you do have an expectation of privacy.”
Politicians like King simply “don’t seem to be concerned about your liberty.” The Senator noted.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.