Wash Post Columnist: Rand Paul Deserves 'Scrooge Award of the Year'

On her Monday 1 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell was shocked by Senator Rand Paul's supposedly "breathtaking" observation that continually extending government unemployment benefits can cause people "to become part of this perpetual unemployed group." She incredulously asked: "It's the unemployment insurance that creates the, quote, 'dependency'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Teeing up liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus to denounce Paul's comments, Mitchell urged her to "have at it." Marcus ranted: "Can you say Scrooge? Yes, thank you for letting me have at it. My mouth dropped open when I heard that....he just wins my Scrooge award of the year."

Mitchell quipped in reply: "We may have to keep that award open until Congress gets out of town."

In denouncing Paul, Marcus proclaimed: "I would like to find one person out there who has been collecting unemployment for this long time who would not welcome the chance – in this holiday season I might point out – to have their benefits extended."

That would seem to confirm the Senator's warning about government dependency.

On Thursday's Daily Rundown, fill-in host Luke Russert wondered if Republicans "risk looking like Grinches over the holiday season" by opposing a minimum wage hike.  


Here is a transcript of the December 9 exchange:

1:35PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: And at the same time, they've [members of Congress] gotta decide what to do about extending unemployment insurance. And Ruth Marcus, Rand Paul – lets hear what Rand Paul had to say about extending unemployment benefits.

RAND PAUL: I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. There was a study that came out a few months ago, and it said if you have a worker that's been unemployed for four weeks and on unemployment insurance and one that's on 99 weeks, which would you hire? Every employer, nearly 100%, said they will always hire the person who's been out of work four weeks. When you allow a people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.

MITCHELL: That's sort of breathtaking, Ruth. It's the unemployment insurance that creates the, quote, "dependency"? Have at it.

RUTH MARCUS [WASHINGTON POST]: Can you say Scrooge? Yes, thank you for letting me have at it. My mouth dropped open when I heard that. It is absolutely true that being unemployed for a long time is a very bad thing in terms of your prospects for getting a job.

MITCHELL: It becomes harder to get a job.

MARCUS: But I would like to find one person out there who has been collecting unemployment for this long time who would not welcome the chance – in this holiday season I might point out – to have their benefits extended. Because they are in a terrible situation, as the Senator pointed out. And he just wins my Scrooge award of the year.

MITCHELL: I mean, we may have to keep that award open until Congress gets out of town.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC