Steve King idiocy of the week

These unbelievable comments from Representative Steve King come to you courtesy of KTIV in Sioux City, who asked the congressman about the upcoming closure of the John Morrell plant in April:

King doesn’t support a suggestion, by Iowa governor Chet Culver, to extend federal unemployment benefits to 39-weeks after a worker loses his, or her, job.

The republican worries some Morrell workers won’t start looking for a new job until that 39th week when benefits are about to run out.

King says the 26-weeks workers get, right now, is enough. Rep. Steve King, (R) Iowa says “We shouldn’t turn the ‘safety net’ into a hammock. It should actually be a ‘safety net’.”

The John Morrell plant currently employs about 1,450 workers. The unemployment rate in Woodbury County is above 6 percent, so it won’t be easy for all of the displaced workers to find new jobs quickly. The Iowa Democratic Party slammed King’s “absurd” comments:

“Calling the extension to unemployment benefits a ‘hammock’ is insulting. Sioux City is suffering with the blow of the Morrell plant closing. This is the worst recession in 80 years. But, Congressman King believes that we should be worried about these workers being too lazy,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan. […]

“Iowans believe in working hard and playing by the rules, and I know that many affected by the Morrell plant closing are already looking for work to provide for their families after the plant closes. Steve King should stop insulting his constituents and get to work helping them get through this difficult time.”

Not only is King insensitive, he appears to be ignorant about how unemployment benefits relate to the broader economy. Last year Mark Zandi, chief economist of, calculated the stimulus “bang for the buck” of various forms of tax cuts and government spending. The table he created is on page 9 of this pdf document, or you can view it here. Of everything Zandi examined, extending unemployment benefits had the second-highest bang for the buck, generating $1.63 in economic activity for every $1 spent by the federal government. That was more than three times the bang for the buck of any permanent tax cut. Even the best tax cut for economic stimulus (a temporary payroll tax holiday) generates only an estimated $1.28 in economic activity for every $1 in revenue the federal government doesn’t collect.

In other words, extending unemployment benefits to former John Morrell workers wouldn’t just give them a safety net, it would produce more revenue for businesses in the Sioux City area. Last year’s stimulus bill extended federal unemployment benefits, but that provision may expire at the end of this month. Meanwhile, long-term unemployment has reached its highest level in decades. According to KTIV, King has talked with Smithfield Foods about giving Sioux City workers jobs at plants Smithfield owns in other communities, but I question how realistic that is when 44 other states have higher unemployment rates than Iowa. Nor would it help Sioux City businesses and property values to have hundreds of families leave the area.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

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  • BH's Overreaction-to-Steve-King of the Week

    Because nobody ever sits around waiting for their unemployment benefits to run out before they actually look for a job!  What is SK thinking???  {sarcasm off}

    Extending unemployment benefits beyond the already generous 39 weeks only serves to stifle the potential for entrepreneurship, i.e., job creation.

    No, this ISN’T Heaven, just Iowa.  

    • Entrepreneurship?

      I’m assuming you mean that terminating unemployment insurance will give them incentive to start their own businesses?  What businesses would you suggest, given that already established ones are going dark at an alarming rate?  Where will the customers come from, since everyone they know is in the same boat?  Where will the start-up capital come from so they can operate and eat?  Perhaps you expect them to make a living off some “work from home” scam?

      • government's broke, too

        Where do you expect these extended benefits to come from?  Will the Fed just print more money?

        • I'd be glad to start a business!

          In fact, I have some design ideas that if realized could save the lives of many in our Military!

          The problem me dear Peggy is this:

          1). I am working a dead-end job at $9 an hour for a Republican too cheap to even provide health insurance as an option.

          2). My wife is unemployed.

          3). We rent.

          4). I could start a business, in fact, I know the venture capitalists would be willing to even finance the startup.

          5). I am a capitalist, I’m not going to give up my intellectual property for 2% to 5% of the take, no freaking way.

          6). I’m not going to be just a low-level employee in anything such as this.

          7). I’m not willing to allow my ideas to be sold off to General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin, Rockwell, McDonnell-Douglas, Loral, General Atomics, or any other such company.  This is the first thing so called “Venture Capitalists” would look for.

          So, my dear Peggy, tell me again how I start a business with nothing?  Tell me again why I should waste my time?  In the meantime, troops die.

        • By the way...

          I started my 23 year career in IT in 1987 at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Test Center back when Ray-Gun was spending most of his time parking his plane in VXE-6’s hangar three blocks over from where I worked in the Range Operations building.

          I can’t find a job in my own country because of the Republican love-affair with India and China.  (Bitch about the “wetbacks” all you want, while you and King fully support sending the good jobs overseas).

          I have heard of a defense firm in Moscow that is hiring, and seeing that my expertise isn’t wanted in my own country, Russia is looking nice, and the climate is a damn sight better than Bangalore, Shanghai or Hong Kong (three cities where nearly EVERY white person is an American Conservative Republican looking for workers (want pictures and video, easily done, my dear)).

    • Well said, Peggy...

      Of the 10 Help Wanted ads posted in the past 7 days for Des Moines proper in the DM Register online, four of those ads are for exactly the type of “entrepeneurial” spirit you might have in mind.  i.e. You pay for training on a job you may never get. Or pay for a sales franchise opportunity.

      Ergo, of the thousands of jobs lost in DM over the past year, there are only 6 available “jobs” listed in the Register online want ads.  

      Plenty to go around for those lazy bums just sitting around waiting for their unemployment benefits to run out.

      Guess folks should probably just walk away from their communities and mortgages, snatch the kids out of school, pack up the mini-van and simply relocate to a job rich environment, eh?

      • It's a jobs problem

        So, Elton, it sounds like the problem is lack of jobs, not lack of government dole for the unemployed.  Get to the crux of the matter and fix it.  

        And, yes, sometimes people have to pack up and go where the jobs are.  Life isn’t fair.

        • Is it me, or does...

          Peggy sound a lot like al-Qaida?

          Islamo-Fascism…Christo-Fascism…Same God, different messiah, identical social policies tho.

          Peggy, why don’t you go fly a plane into a “gummint” building like your teabagging terrorist pal in Texas…

          Wonder what else your friends are going to blow up this year?

          CPAC booing Barr???  My gawd, you Conservatives are out of control…  Further to the right than Barr…  Freaking amazing…

          Too bad we have a gutless Congressional Majority.  It would be nice seeing some Republican-style politics used against Republicans.

          I’d like to see King up on Smith Act charges, myself…  Want to see some convincing video of King’s mouth in action to support that?  As well as the results of such advocating?  Easily done.  Case closed.  20 years.  18 USC Sec. 2385, not just for Nazis and Commies anymore.

          • (in plain english a conservative can understand)

            Steve King is a traitor, and hangs out with Insurrectionist Terrorist groups, including those tried on TERRORISM charges (let’s see, SoCal Minutemen Assoc, 10 counts of Terrorism in 1998, suspected of a pipe-bombing in 1999 as well).

            Yeah, Peggy, let’s talk about the Right!  ANYTIME!!!

    • do you know anyone who's unemployed?

      Do you really think they sit around not looking for work until their benefits are about to run out?

      By that logic, why keep giving them benefits for 26 weeks? Why not cut them off sooner?

      • You can't be serious!

        By your logic, why have any end date for unemployment benefits?

        • Sure, Peggy! We can't do that, can we?

            Because I’m just certain that so many of us are just grooving on our meager benefits, just happy as larks, sitting in a lilac bush, singing our hearts out while we watch our bills pile up, our credit ratings go south, our teeth rot and our children worry.  

           Last time my husband was unemployed his benefits ran about $800 a month…for a family of FOUR. And those were top of the heap benefits, too.   Try that sometime and see just how groovy that “hammock” feels, hon. @@

          • you never told me

            you used to be a “welfare queen”!

            Unemployment benefits, welfare–it’s all just government handouts. Nothing like the farm subsidies some of Steve King’s other constituents get year after year after year.

  • Hi Peggy

    Interested to know what, if anything, you think the government should do in terms of benefits for someone who loses their job?

  • Steve King could care less about Americans

    When is someone with balls going to go after this Traitor?

    Given all of the ammo this man has given us, we could use his own words, video of him saying them, and do a social network graph that would show his associations with known domestic Terrorist groups in such a light as to make anyone with an IQ above that of a soybean think of him as an American bin-Laden.

    I given his business ties to foreign countries, and his support network, I wouldn’t trust the man to so much as do anything good for the American people.

    Given his associations, I wouldn’t trust the man in any matter regarding Classified National Security Information.  In fact, the man should be on an INTERNAL SECURITY WATCHLIST!!! (along with most of the Radical Fruitcake Right’s leadership and brownshirts).

    Given that the Right’s rhetoric has already resulted in Terrorist attacks, and with it ratcheting up like it is, I anticipate many many many more Terrorist attacks on US soil from King’s (and others of his ilk) fans this year.

    When is the Party going to wake up and see that we simply can’t be nice to these Republicans?  They are not nice people.  I’ve scraped nicer things off my shoe on the farm.