MARCH 06, 2012
An inconceivable story about a convicted murderer who for years collected unemployment benefits from jail has made national headlines though a crucial component, associated with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been left out.
When Pelosi, a veteran California Democrat, was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives she defended a controversial jobless benefits extension by asserting that it would somehow help create jobs. That’s right, Pelosi actually said that unemployment checks keep the economy churning, which in turn, “creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”
Those brilliant words came when Democrats were trying to pass a measure extending unemployment benefits—paid by state treasuries and the federal government—which already last two years. Opponents called it a “fiscal insanity” because it was incredibly expensive and did nothing to create jobs or motivate the jobless to look for work.
Fast forward to a news report published this week by California’s largest newspaper. It outlines the unbelievable case of a convicted killer who raked in more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits from 2008 to 2010 while incarcerated in Los Angeles County. The murderer, a gangbanger who got caught because he proudly tattooed a graphic mural of the murder scene on his chest, had family and friends cash his monthly unemployment checks, according to the article.
It gets better. When the murderer’s contacts cashed the $1,600 monthly checks they would deposit a portion into his jail account and would share some of the money with his fellow incarcerated gang members. A captain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the agency that operates jails there, said “it’s pretty appalling when you think about somebody sitting in jail collecting unemployment.”
It’s also appalling that Pelosi publicly advocated for this out-of-control federal program at the precise time that a murderous gangbanger was milking it in her own state. Adding insult to injury, authorities confirm the money was being “used to benefit a criminal gang.” Here are some examples, according to police in L.A.; “theft, drug sales and violent crime….”
More than 1.1 million people qualify for unemployment benefits in California, according to the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD). In 2011 the agency doled out $17.1 billion in benefits and this year it’s paying about $327 million a week. “These benefits provide critical sustenance to unemployed workers and their families, in addition to local businesses where much of the benefits are spent on basic needs,” the agency explains on its website.
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