"Crucially, as Lafer emphasizes, this isn’t about what we colloquially refer to as 'conservative values.' Rather than rolling back the state, tea party Republicans are calling for extensive observation and disciplining of unemployed people.
"Tennessee conservatives and business interests, for instance, are pushing 'the Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012 [which] would add scenarios that disqualify a worker from receiving unemployment in the first place [and] call for audits of 1,000 claimants weekly.' So much for smaller government and more privacy.
"And for all the conservative talk about making programs as local as possible, what is often referred to as 'subsidiarity' or 'devolution,' that principle is ignored when it comes to repealing labor protections. Many conservative states have pushed laws designed to override localities that seek to create or increase their minimum wages, prevailing wages, living wages or mandatory sick days. Given that many states have big cities where more extensive labor protections exist, this matters for many people."