Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 | 3:11 p.m.
Republican Rep. Dean Heller wonders if the government creating a new generation of “hobos.”
Heller told a weekend crowd at the Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Elko that Washington’s efforts to continue extending unemployment benefits for jobless Americans may be creating a dependent class, unable to get back to work, according to the Elko Daily Free Press.
“Is the government now creating hobos?” Heller asked.
From the Elko paper:
Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs.
He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce.
“I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing.
House Republicans received a presentation in January from an analyst who told them of the connection between long-term joblessness and the unemployed.
Heller has mainly voted for extending unemployment insurance as Nevada’s jobless rate spiked to 13 percent.
However, more recently he voted against the unemployment extension when it was packaged as part of a broader $150 billion jobs bill that also included spending on highway construction and other projects.