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(Businessweek) — For Democrats, the timing was awkward. On Dec. 7, the morning after President Barack Obama announced a tax-and-spending deal with congressional Republicans that will extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that there were 3.4 million job openings as of the end of October.  In other words, millions of jobs are going unfilled at the same time that millions of out-of-work Americans are getting checks for being unemployed. That’s red meat for free-market conservatives who dislike government meddling in the private sector. Under the deal’s terms, wrote Erick Erickson, editor of the influential RedState blog, “we will also continue subsidizing unemployment—yes you read that right. At some point it becomes welfare, not unemployment compensation.”

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