For the past 30 years Republicans have espoused the virtues of "supply side" economics, but now it appears they have become staunch defenders of the demand side of the equation, at least insofar as it applies to the current jobs crisis.
One by one, Republicans in Congress are coming out against any further extension of unemployment benefits even as tens of thousands of jobs continue to be lost each month and as families in their own states struggle desperately to survive. Their new argument is that unemployment benefits give an incentive for people not to work.
Somehow they beleive that the problem is one of demand for jobs, not the fact that the supply of jobs has been getting destroyed, mainly due to their obstructionist policies and their stance on deficits.
The Republicans are attempting to spin this argument in a dishonest and cruel way, by saying that the only reason so many people are collecting unemployment now is because they simply aren't looking hard enough. In their minds, the mere desire for a job is sufficient to somehow miraculously gain employment regardless of actual economic conditions.
People don't get unemployment benefits if they quit their jobs; they have to be laid off, so it was the laying off part that got them on the dole in the first place. Furthermore, it's audacious to argue that getting $25,000 per year (the full unemployment stipend), which most people don't even qualify for, is incentive to not look for work when the median income in America is well above that.
Blocking the extension of unemployment benefits has caught Congressional Democrats offguard (I don't see why it should have) and now the first "trickle down" effects will start to be felt as thousands of government workers are furloughed or as others around the nation miss a paycheck this week. This will inject some new weakness into the economy just as Wall Street and the media are heralding its recovery.