06/25/2010 02:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's Not About the Deficit, Part II: Conservatives Just Hate the Unemployed

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed the conservative filibuster of the latest jobs and jobless aid bill was because they oppose any increase of the national debt: "The principle Democrats are defending is that they will not pass a bill unless it adds to the debt."

What McConnell and his fellow conservative obstructionists choose not to mention is Senate Democrats relented, scrapped what was once an attempt for an extra boost of stimulus, phased out Medicaid help for states, cut the size of unemployment checks, offset all the additional costs for every aspect of the bill -- including a series of business tax breaks -- with the lone exception for the reduced unemployment checks, which would have increased the national debt by a whopping 0.00043 percent. (Ezra Klein yesterday contrasted that to the multi-trillion dollar cost of the Bush tax cuts backed by the same conservative filibusterers.)

Massive increase in debt for millionaires? Sure. Extremely tiny increase in debt to help the long-term unemployed deal with the biggest recession in decades? Tighten your belt and suck it up.

And if you think conservatives are just trying to put some reasonable limits on how much jobless aid is provided, know that they have just cut off assistance after 26 weeks, when the average length of unemployment in this recession has been 34 weeks.

So, it's not about the deficit. And it's not about tough love. The only explanation left: active disdain for the unemployed.

Originally posted at