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What Do Alaska, Iowa, Missouri and Mississippi Have In Common?



Republican one-party rule would be a good answer. They all have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures. And the residents of each state voted for Trump in 2016 and again-- after seeing him in action for 4 years-- in 2020. These are the Trump vs Biden numbers:

  • Alaska- 52.8% to 42.8%

  • Iowa- 53.1% to 44.9%

  • Missouri- 56.8% to 41.4%

  • Mississippi- 57.6% to 41.1%

Also each one has 2 reactionary Republican U.S. Senators. But none of that is the answer to the question I asked. The answer came on Saturday when Alaska, Iowa, Missouri and Mississippi became the first 4 states to eliminate their federal unemployment programs. Keep in mind that the Trump-GOP is trying to sell itself to white working class voters as the party of the white working class. These 4 states just ended assistance for almost 340,000 working class people, though not all of them white.


Why only 4? Don't worry, 21 more states under Republican control have started the process of kicking millions of workers off unemployment.


"As Alaska's economy opens up, employers are posting a wide range of job opportunities and workers are needed," Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter said in a statement.
In March 2020, Congress passed the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided an addition $600 weekly checks from the federal government to people who were unemployed, in addition to benefits they were already receiving from their state. That unemployment aid was later dropped to $300 a week and extended through September 2021.
Republican state leaders have argued they need to end the enhanced unemployment benefits because they provide an incentive for people to stay unemployed rather than returning to the work force. They say the benefits drive up wages, stifle hiring and squeeze small businesses.
Democrats and a number of economists, however, push back against those claims. Unemployment benefits have little effect, they say, and the slow return of people to the workforce is actually driven by a lack of child care and lingering health concerns.
Though May saw a gain of 559,000 new jobs, it came after a disappointing jobs report in April showed that only 266,000 jobs had been added.
“It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled,” Mississippi Tate Reeves (R ) said in a statement.

The other states about to show how Republicans support the working class are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. I asked Colin Byrd, the mayor of Greenbelt, Maryland and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.


Last night he told me that he strongly opposes the governor's plan to cut off unemployment benefits. "I think that the governor should reverse his decision, and, if he chooses not to do that, I think the General Assembly should convene for a special session to overturn his decision. I understand businesses' concerns about a so-called 'labor shortage,' but the bigger issue here is the wage shortage. The bigger issue here is the child care shortage. The bigger issue here is the health care shortage and the shortage of businesses willing to take seriously the risks of covid-19. So, of course, what these governors are doing is cruel, but note that these governors in state capitals aren't the only people that have shortchanged folks on unemployment. The U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill were the ones who lowered the weekly unemployment benefits that are part of the American Rescue Plan bill. In other words, if it weren't for what the U.S. Senate did, folks would be getting an extra $400 a week in unemployment rather than the $300. Imagine having an extra $100 a week taken out of your bank account because of your senator. Well, actually, many people don't have to imagine that, because that is effectively what the U.S. Senate did to a lot of Americans. So the latest actions by various governors don't just hurt people. These actions addd insult to injury-- injury brought to you in part by the U.S. Senate."

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