March 08, 2010

The Lazy Unemployed


My immediate response to the headline was the snarky thought, " opposed to the Democrats, who are doing everything in their power to make everyone unemployed."

But I clicked through anyway, to see Benen trying to set up his argument by citing Tom DeLay:

It's astounding, but in the midst of an unemployment crisis, prominent Republicans continue to castigate those struggling to find jobs.

Yesterday, for example, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) argued that unemployment benefits are a bad idea, because, as he sees it, they discourage people from entering the work force.

"You know," DeLay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions of these unemployment benefits keeps people from going and finding jobs." When CNN's Candy Crowley described his argument as "a hard sell" to the public, DeLay replied, "It's the truth."

Crowley followed up, asking, "People are unemployed because they want to be?" DeLay again said, "Well, it is the truth."

After citing other examples of no-doubt evil Republicans making similar comments, Benen then concludes:

As a matter of conscience, having prominent Republicans chastise those struggling to find work during an unemployment crisis is just callous and cruel.

And as a matter of politics, who, exactly, is going to be impressed by Republicans attacking the unemployed as lazy? Since when is "screw struggling families, let's worry about corporate tax cuts and the estate tax" an effective election-year message during difficult economic times?

I can only assume Benen chooses to turn a blind eye to the phenomena of funemployment, the breezy, recreational abuse of unemployment benefits that has a become a lifestyle of its own, with Web sites and blogs dedicated to it.

This is the kind of abuse that DeLay and other Republicans are targeting, and I cannot see how any sane person can defend making unemployment benefits to those who choose to abuse the system instead of finding a way to become a contributing member of society.

Then there are the purposefully underemployed, those that could be working full time jobs—often with benefits—but at lower salaries that they previously made. They choose to remain unemployed because they are arrogant and feel entitled and would rather be unemployed than take a position they feel is beneath them.

These people, again, are those that continue to sponge off the taxpayer as they sit on their plump backsides watching The View because they system is broken and allows them to live a life without accountability (or at least with reduced accountability) for their inaction.

Unemployment should be a safety net, not a plush feather bed or even a futon.

It's a simple concept: If you don't work because you won't work, you don't eat.

It's so simple, even a liberal can grasp it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 8, 2010 10:55 AM

Our whole system is dependent on the industry of a handfull of its citizens. Consider that 10% of people pay meaningful tax and that this tax funds all of these people and the Obama projects. I don't think this is what people invision as a democracy.

We need to put some basic limits into the system. It would help if we had a Constitutional amendment limiting the amount of tax that any individual or company paid. With that in place we would know that the government could not come in and take it all. This would also limit the government's feeling that it can spend without reservation, knowing that they can always tax more. Another good amemendment would be the to get the national government out of what should be the states business. When did the Feds decide on unemployment? This is a state issue only.

Another concept would be restriction in rights of those living off the government. As much as many do not like David Duke, and I am one, he did have some good points. People on welfare should not vote, have babies, or any of the other freedoms we enjoy. They should be helped, but it should not be without consequence.

Of course, the best thing would be a new government that actually listened to its citizens. Particularly those paying the bill.

Posted by: David at March 8, 2010 11:24 AM

"Yesterday, for example, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) argued that unemployment benefits are a bad idea, because, as he sees it, they discourage people from entering the work force."

DeLay is correct. Unemployment benefits DO discourage people from entering the work force. I speak from personal experience.

In 2002-2003, I was out of work for ten months. My unemployment benefit came to $10 per hour (assuming a work week of 40 hours). I'm not an idiot, so I didn't ever CONSIDER job openings that paid less than that. In fact, I didn't even consider jobs that paid $10/hr or even a bit more (say, $12/hour).

Why? Because as long as I could collect an unemployment check, I could spend my entire week looking for a job paying much more than $10/hr. (Jobs in my profession typically pay two or three times that much.) If I took a job at $10/hr, I wouldn't increase my income at all, and I would have to spend 40 hours a week working instead of looking for a better job. Why would I do that?

Even a job paying, say, $12/hr would not be worth it. I would receive a bit more money, but not enough to make up for the loss of those 40 hours a week.

Eventually, I did take a job for $10/hr, but only when my unemployment benefits were in danger of running out. (I kept looking in my spare time, and eventually landed a much better job.)

There is no question that the unemployment checks encouraged me to turn down jobs that I otherwise would have taken. Any sane person would make the same choice.

Posted by: Sundog at March 8, 2010 12:51 PM

Why is it that Republican leaders are eager to point to welfare cheats and "funemployment" criminals, and then suggest that everyone who takes such benefits is a criminal, but these same Republican leaders assure us that despite the alarming number of crooked contractors who do shoddy work for the Department of Defense (sometimes killing our troops) that we should consider that to be an aberation? I suspect that while the numbers of welfare cheats and the willingly unemployed might be higher than the number of dishonest contractors, the actual dollar cost to the government for contracts that are skimmed or scammed is probably much higher. Where's the umbrage? Where's the clamor to fix the contracting system? Where's the unlevened suspicion of contractors? Of course, contractors have lobbyists and the poor do not, and when you are naturally inclined to believe that business is always better than the government, it sure must be easy to overlook corruption by the corporate folks who line your pockets.

Posted by: Unbalanced but fair at March 8, 2010 04:33 PM

DeLay is right. How can anyone be expected to find a job when he/she can get paid for not working?

Posted by: Warren Beatty at March 8, 2010 05:37 PM

While I recall the indictment of Delay on several charges I cannot recall his conviction on any of them. I seem to remember that the prosecutor who brought the charges is no longer in office and his successor is not proceeding.
There's an old saying that a good prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted so unless there is a conviction I don't see how Delay has been disgraced.

Posted by: NevadaDailySteve at March 8, 2010 06:41 PM
Why is it that Republican leaders are eager to point to welfare cheats and "funemployment" criminals, and then suggest that everyone who takes such benefits is a criminal,

Where'd you get that idea?

Posted by: Pablo at March 9, 2010 01:40 PM

Pablo - the same place these liberal lying pos get ALL their ideas; he made it up.

Posted by: emdfl at March 9, 2010 03:53 PM

Not all of the people who hold off on getting a job do so because they are lazy bastards. It's pretty bad to take a job just for a few weeks until you get the job you actually will keep. It is not fair to employers, as they spend the time training you only for you to quit.

When I was unemployed, I spent 4-8 hours a day doing resumes, cover letters, and job searches. Ironically, I got my job via a personal recommendation.

Posted by: OmegaPaladin at March 11, 2010 04:42 AM