A consistent theme that has developed among conservative politicians this year is to degrade and demean the unemployed who are seeking unemployment benefits. From former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacking a man who paid into the unemployment insurance system for 35 years for seeking benefits, to Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) suggesting that the availability of meager unemployment insurance was causing the unemployed of his state to sit back and wait instead of seek work, the conservative assault on the unemployed appear to have no end. Now, New York GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Carl Paladino, “a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists,” is openly advocating for the creation of special prison dorms for recipients of unemployment insurance where they can receive special training and lessons in “personal hygiene”:
Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in “personal hygiene.” […] Paladino first described the idea in June at a meeting of The Journal News of White Plains and spoke about it again this week with The Associated Press. […]
Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state — “military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service,” he said — while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors.
“Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we’ll teach people how to earn their check. We’ll teach them personal hygiene … the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes,” Paladino said.
Paladino did explain to the Associated Press that any such prison dorm scheme would be voluntary. What he failed to explain is why, as a tea party conservative, taking people away from their families to taxpayer-funded facilities to try to re-educate them is in any way conservative.