Way back in 2012, then-Gov. Rick Scott made headlines with a weird new policy: Any claim for unemployment could no longer be done by phone or in person—it had to be filed online using his new website. The website, which cost $77.9 million, was a disaster right out of the gate. For the first quarter of 2012, over 60,000 workers were denied benefits for “procedural” reasons—an increase of more than 200% from the year before.
This wasn’t another display of Scott’s well-established incompetence. No, the system did exactly what it was designed to do: Fail. People complained, but were ignored; I mean, who cares what the unemployed say? Now that the system has collapsed under the weight of the coronavirus layoffs, even Republicans have admitted that failure was the entire point of the scheme. But why, you might ask, would anyone design a website to fail?