Television

John Oliver Explains Our Disaster of an Unemployment Insurance System

John Oliver sits at his glass anchorperson desk, in front of a graphic reading "Unemployment," depicting a person trapped in a maze.
Who moved the entire country’s cheese? HBO

Like some kind of tinpot dictator in reverse, John Oliver continues his tour of the worst things our country has to offer. This week, he and the Last Week Tonight crew took a look at our nightmarish system of unemployment insurance. As anyone who’s ever applied for unemployment can tell you, it’s one of those systems that makes it extremely clear that our government is not so much a collective endeavor to improve the lives of its citizenry as it is a rigged carnival game designed to give the appearance of addressing problems while cheating poor people out of things they’re entitled to so that rich people don’t have to pay taxes. And you don’t even get to get to shoot a clown with a water gun! Here’s what Oliver had to say.

Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like to live in a country where the government wasn’t always trying to trick people. In my wildest dreams, I even envision a government that spends its time and money trying to alleviate poverty, instead of cooking up schemes to identify the undeserving poor and prevent them from receiving any aid. Then I wake up in the United States. At least we’ve got excellent cable television.

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