Friday, January 10, 2014

Unemployment Decompensation

Even as the national unemployment numbers continue to plummet, it was recently reported that in Wisconsin, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment compensation is so high that the state can't keep up with them:
John Dipko, a spokesman for the Department of Workforce Development, said the department
is working to handle the high call volume.

"We have additional staff working the phone lines and putting in extra hours to take calls during this temporary high-volume season, and we expect the situation will improve, especially now that the holiday-related office closures are behind us," he said in an email.

"We understand the frustration of those who may not get through to a claims specialist. We are monitoring call center activity closely and will adjust resources as needed to ensure individuals make the connections they need to file their claims."
The high volume of calls for unemployment claims should not come as a surprise to anyone. It was just a few weeks ago that we saw that Scott Walker's agenda has been working so well that Wisconsin led the nation in the number of new claims. It was so bad that Wisconsin had more claims than the second and third worst state combined.

It would be easy to just brush this off by claiming that it is nothing more than just one more example of Walker's incompetence and of his general disdain for anyone who is not a wealthy campaign donor.

I would submit to the gentle reader that this is actually what Walker and his Teapublican cohorts had wanted to happen.  I would suggest that just as he treated the poor in Milwaukee County as political pawns, he is doing the same with the unemployed and underemployed in preparation for his re-election and presidential bids.

Walker and his Teapublican cohorts have spent the past year making unilateral changes to unemployment insurance.  Some of these changes include delaying the time that an applicant gets their first check, making things harder to qualify for unemployment compensation, and making it easier to get kicked off of unemployment compensation.

Another one of these ALEC-driven changes includes dropping the length that unemployment compensation lasts as the unemployment percentage drop.

Because there's nothing like kicking a person when they are already down.

So now Walker has a double incentive to have low unemployment numbers.

One, he can try to use it to spin his public image as a job creator even though we damn well know he is far from being one.

Secondly, he can appease the corporate special interest which are bank rolling his campaigns, both for reelection and for his aspirations to be president.

By understaffing the call center for unemployment, Walker is able to delay people getting unemployment and is able to artificially suppress the unemployment numbers, allowing him to maintain his fragile claims to being a job creator and to keep more money for his corporate overlords.

Is it any wonder why Walker keeps referring to the issue of employment compensation as a "distraction."  If anyone were to take a closer look at the situation in Wisconsin, they would see that Walker is not the job creator he pretends to be.  They would also see how his draconian approach to unemployment insurance is slowing the state's economy even more, making it harder for everyone, not just the unemployed.

The one thing that is imminently clear is that Walker and his Teapublican friends in the legislature should be given the chance to enjoy the bitter fruits of their own work and be put in the unemployment line themselves.


  1. As you often say, there is always more. The push against unemployment benefits is getting more and more aggressive, and the state is going down the path of Florida and North Carolina in making it more and more difficult to get unemployment benefits Details available at

  2. If you're fired, you are now disqualified not only if you engaged in "misconduct," but also for less serious conduct known as "substantial fault," a provision that only N. Carolina has.