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Jul 18, 2010

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Max Hailperin

Sally, you did a great job of highlighting this item, but I would say you are giving Demmer too much credit to think he envisions people taking low-paying jobs that don't use their skills. Although under the terms of unemployment insurance, an unemployed person would be entitled to pass up such a position as not "suitable employment," there aren't even enough of those positions.

As I wrote in a letter to the Free Press (still pending), Demmer didn't do his homework. When I googled "Minnesota employment statistics", it only took me three clicks to get to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reporting that "there were 8.2 unemployed workers for every job vacancy statewide" (in the most recent quarter with data, the 4th quarter of 2009).

Rather than looking at this authoritative data, Demmer "talked to business owners" -- an eerie echo of Emmer's research methodology concerning the earnings of servers.

I didn't point out in my letter that Demmer's lack of homework seems to extend beyond the underlying data to also encompass his own party's talking points. If I were a Republican, I would be concerned at the seemingly off-the-cuff way in which he staked out a position at odds with the party leadership, who insist that they support extending unemployment benefits and just want to see it offset by other spending cuts, rather than adding to the deficit.

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    Sorensen, editor and proprietor of Bluestem Prairie, serves clients in the business and nonprofit sectors. While progressive in outlook, she does not caucus with any political party.

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