I agree with Brian Beutler at Salon that the GOP is opposing an extension of unemployment benefits because they don’t want to do anything to help the economy — besides helping the affected families, an extension would create jobs and raise GDP.
From “GOP’s ulterior motive on unemployment: Economic sabotage?”:
“Congress has never cut off these benefits when unemployment has been as high as it is right now, and the long-term unemployed and chronically poor aren’t equivalent populations. So there’s got to be more going on than just conservative indifference.
“Some Republicans would claim the deficit is too high to renew benefits, but we know that’s not true because the deficit is shrinking fast, and there are myriad, painless ways to defray the cost….
“Unemployment benefits make people’s lives better and buoy a fragile, but possibly accelerating recovery. Some Republicans are apparently reluctant to give Democrats and the economy a shot in the arm right now.”
There are no principles involved here, just pure politics. From now on, it’s going to be all about the GOP retaking the Senate, and after the mid-terms, it’s going to all about the GOP retaking the White House. No governing, just campaigning.