Wednesday, July 22, 2020

GOP Majority Leader Steineke on NOT providing UC to Wisconsinites: It "would only serve to expand eligibility to an already strained system." Yes!

Republicans don't seem too worried about losing their jobs by an angry electorate over their incompetence and inaction on the now out-of-control rise in Covid-19 cases: "On Tuesday, DHS reported a single-day increase of 1,117. A death toll increase of 13 over Monday."

We're now in the "uncontrolled spread" category.
Also, safely gerrymandered Republicans aren't concerned about the backlog of desperate Wisconsinites trying to finally get their unemployment checks. Like everything else, leaders Fitzgerald and Vos aren't interested in Gov. Evers proposed changes to speed UC processing up, because the maze they came up with is doing just what it was supposed to do; make it difficult.

Take this breathtakingly twisted admission by Republican Rep. Jim Steineke that while the backlog is now Gov. Evers fault, giving more people really the problem. You can't make this stuff up:
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said in a statement. “The tired proposals trotted out today would only serve to expand eligibility to an already strained system and fuel the flames of the problem at hand.”
Yes, he actually said that out loud. I hope that's clear now.

Scott Walker's purely partisan agenda was part of a nationwide GOP effort to punish the unemployed and force them to work for less. But the pandemic exposed that cruelty (Listen to the NPR Marketplace audio below):
Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance woes are part of a national trend, according to experts and media reports.

“Systems have been over-calibrated to prevent overpayments at the expense of paying appropriate benefits. States have programmed their computer systems to pause applications at every decision point, which can generate multiple eligibility determinations and denials,” Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst with the unemployment law group, testified this month to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. “As we have seen, that is going to slow down benefits getting to the public when there is a crisis.”

A 2014 state audit found that DWD call centers automatically blocked 80% of calls during times of high volume. 

Additionally, Walker signed a lame-duck law just before Evers took office that restricts the governor’s ability to waive certain requirements for state-federal benefits programs including unemployment insurance. And Wisconsin’s $370 a week maximum benefit is among the most miserly in the United States, ranking 40th

Speaking of Scott Walker...on WKOW's Capitol City Sunday, Emilee Fannon interviewed our seriously uninformed former governor Scott Walker, who hid his incompetence with repetitive memorized slogans and limited media access.

Remember Steineke's comment above, how it would "...only serve to expand eligibility to an already strained system," yes, that's what were trying to do! Urrghhhh!  

Walker, like he always does, focused on just one thing that he probably rehearsed a thousand times at home on, his claim that not enough people are processing claims. He wasn't about to take any responsibility for making it harder, and certainly didn't regret never updating the system when the state had surplus money to fix the phone system:
When pressed on whether he would encourage his GOP colleagues to accept changes to the laws he said lawmakers could, but reiterated it’s not a solution to the backlog.
“Making changes is fine, but that’s not the hang-up. You need more state government employees to process these claims.” 

Special note: After I tweeted a criticism of Fannon's interviewing powers, she came back strong in this interview. That's how it's done!

Republicans, who were once outraged they were left out of solving the pandemic shutdown, are now ignoring the sudden spike in cases and deaths, with no plans to deal with the predicted spread. 

I just found this Neil Covuto's show interview with Walker, were he said politician had to come up with a can't hide from this one Scott.

Scott Walker says there has to be a balance: Anyone see one now? Walker insists there has to be a "balance" where there is none, and back-to-work must happen now...but slowly? 

Here's more from a May 2019 post:

Making Unemployment Insurance Impossible to Get or Keep: Walker did everything he could to discourage and drop workers from their unemployment benefits. Other states went even further. Here's public radio's Marketplace report exposing the scheme to lower unemployment numbers, something Scott Walker exploited:

Here's are a few changes Walker put in place that are now being targeted by Gov. Evers for elimination or change:
1. One-week waiting period to qualify for unemployment benefits. 

2. A provision that makes people ineligible for benefits if fired for what the law defines as “substantial fault,” or failure to conform to a “reasonable” employer job policy ... recent court cases found it was improperly used to deny unemployment benefits to eligible applicants. 

3. The administration has authority to define the types of job offers a person can reject and remain eligible for benefits.

4. Eliminating requirements adopted in 2015 that applicants submit to drug testing to receive jobless benefits. The most sweeping of those requirements has not yet taken effect due to federal delays.

5. If someone has more than one job and quits one of them, they are now ineligible to collect unemployment for the next year if they’re laid off from another job.
The changes were part of a scheme to cut business contributions into the insurance program and artificially make the numbers lower to look like we didn't have a problem in the eyes of the federal government. It worked too. Here's a link to Wisconsin efforts and other state's cuts to unemployment eligibility.

With a minimum wage of $7.25 and tough unemployment insurance requirements that include work requirements and drug testing for food and housing benefits, is it any surprise Wisconsin has a labor shortage and out migration problem. 

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