Over the last few weeks, at least five GOP-led states — Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee — embraced rule changes to their unemployment benefits systems to allow workers who were fired for refusing to abide by their employers’ vaccine requirements to claim unemployment. Many other GOP-led states are likely to follow suit.
Hypocrisy doesn’t even begin to describe this particular policy shift, which panders to the conspiratorial, anti-vaxxer wing of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has perfected the art of political gymnastics, of doing 180-degree policy turns on a dime simply for short-term partisan advantage; it is a party that touts itself as upholding “law and order” while embracing the coup-plotting antics of Donald Trump and his murderous paramilitary henchmen; it is a party that refused to consider a Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court a year before the presidential election in 2016, but which rammed through Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before the 2020 election closed. However, even within this context, there’s something particularly bizarre about its handing out of welfare benefits specifically to the unvaccinated.