You don’t have to listen to the political debate in North Carolina for long before someone brings up the $2.8 billion the state owes the federal government for unemployment insurance funds the state borrowed to provide the desperately needed benefits to laid off workers during the Great Recession.
That’s good. It is an issue that deserves a robust debate. The problem is that we are not having one. Conservative candidates like to use the debt to add to their “government is out of control” theme or even worse to demonize people who are out of work and call for slashing their unemployment benefits as part of the solution to repay the debt.
Most progressive candidates usually resist the worker-bashing and but don’t ever seem to quite get around to talking about all the real causes of the problem, mentioning only the unprecedented layoffs that came as a result of the worst economic downturn in a generation.
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