Have the unemployed become modern-day lepers?

Woman searching for a job
Woman searching for a job

There's been a sea change in the public attitude toward those who were laid off in the Great Recession. What started out as empathy -- and the knowledge that the next tap on the shoulder could be yours -- has now shifted from "we're all in this together" to something akin to "get off your lazy butts and find a job already, you despicable freeloader, you."

Actually, I believe that is the precise language in one of the comments to my recent post on extending unemployment benefits. Or maybe it came from Sharron Angle, a Republican who wants to be the next senator from Nevada. She called the unemployed "spoiled" and said the reason they don't have jobs is that they don't really want to work. She added that unemployment benefits "take away the incentive to have a job because ... you know that you can't make as much as you are making on unemployment, you'll stay on unemployment.