Republicans To Unemployed: Why Won’t You All Just Get Some Jobs Already?

July 14, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Jim Bunning and Tom Coburn blocked the extension of unemployment benefits. Jon Kyl called supporting the unemployed a “necessary evil.” There’s even been talk from one Republican that Congress is creating a nation of “hobos.”

So here’s TPM’s round-up of Republicans hating on the jobless for…well, for being jobless.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who is running for governor, said last week that unemployed people are purposely avoiding jobs so they can continue collecting benefits from the government: “The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are going to sit there and – I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, ‘I can’t get people to come back to work until…they say, I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.'”

Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for senator of Kentucky, said in June that the unemployed need to stop being so picky when it comes to getting a job: “As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that’s less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again. Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said in March that unemployment benefits don’t “create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” More recently, he’s called unemployment benefits a “necessary evil,” though added that “it’s not a good thing for the economy. It’s a bad thing for the economy but it’s still the right thing to do for other reasons.”

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer compared the unemployed to stray animals back in January, saying that unemployment insurance is a lot like helping out strays. One is “facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply,” he said. “They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.” Though he later backtracked, saying this probably “wasn’t the best metaphor,” he has since said that “flat-out lazy” people “would rather sit home and do nothing than do these jobs.”

In June, Nevada Senate nominee Sharron Angle said that “what has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job.” She added: “They keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn’t pay as much as the unemployment benefit does.”

Former House Majority Leader (and former Dancing With The Stars contestant) Tom DeLay appeared on CNN in March to point to “studies that have been done that shows that people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.” When host Candy Crowley pointed out that saying “people are unemployed because they want to be” is a “hard sell,” DeLay responded: “Well, it is the truth.”

Back in May, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said that Congress needs to think twice about continuing unemployment benefits “because you’re out of the recession, you’re starting to see growth and you’re clearly going to dampen the capacity of that growth if you basically keep an economy that encourages people to, rather than go out and look for work, to stay on unemployment. Yes, it’s important to do that up to a certain level, but at some point you’ve got to acknowledge that we’re not Europe.”

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) said in February that he thinks that though “there should be a federal safety net,” extending unemployment benefits yet again raises the question: “Is the government now creating hobos?”

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