"Scraping and Clawing"

On the one hand, Republicans can't stop criticizing President Obama and the Democrats on the basis that they are not doing enough to quickly create more jobs, routinely calling the stimulus a failure in terms of job-creation.

On the other hand, Republicans don't mind ignoring their own rap to reflexively accuse US workers of being lazy shits in order to criticize the Dems for wanting to extend unemployment benefits.

Greg Sargent is keeping a running tally of what he calls the "Let Them Eat Want Ads" Caucus, and Think Progress notes that the latest promulgator of the "Lazy Shits" meme is Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Eprehensible), who is currently angling for the GOP nomination in Tennessee's gubernatorial race:
Wamp, speaking off the floor of the U.S. House in Washington where he had gone for key congressional votes today, said small business, the [National Federation of Independent Business] and he as governor "must resist… any more mandates to small business to help the unemployed -- that we have continued to extend on a federal level, I think, unemployment compensation so long that there's disincentives for people to actually re-enter the workforce or go out and look for a job.

"And this is creating a culture of dependence which we do not need. We want people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting. And so we've got to not allow any more mandates."
I won't even waste my time addressing at length the mendacious fuckery that is asserting unemployment payments to be a disincentive against finding permanent work. It's patent nonsense—and anyone who's ever been on unemployment, or knows anyone who has, understands that it's nonsense. Forget the fact that unemployment payments are a steep reduction in income, especially if they're being gobbled up by COBRA payments to retain healthcare coverage; they are also, even when extended, a finite source of income. I don't believe I've ever known a single person receiving unemployment compensation who sat back on hir laurels instead of proactively job-hunting.

But suppose for a moment that these (straw) people actually exist in vast numbers: Are there legions of employers with oodles of unfilled positions, desperate for a workforce that just refuses to apply for work because of their phat unemployment checks? No.

You know who is being picky at the moment? Employers. Because they can be, because there are millions of people out of work, and that's an opportunity for them to find the best worker for the lowest rate.

It's also an opportunity for them to routinely turn applicants away on the basis of having too much experience, or on the suspicion that someone overqualified will jump ship as soon as the economy picks up again (as if that's likely to happen overnight).

And, best yet, it's an opportunity for them to require existing employees to absorb the work of vacated positions, instead of refilling the positions. With the constant threat of losing their jobs in a shitty economy hanging over the heads of workers, they'll work harder, longer, do more for less, just to retain their jobs. And lots of unscrupulous employers are exploiting this to the fullest, running their businesses on skeleton crews of people who don't dare complain lest they lose the terrible jobs they desperately hate and face the even worse fate of unemployment.

Employment is down, wages are down, but efficiency and profits are up.

But funny how Republicans aren't publicly lambasting employers for using a bad economy and endemic unemployment to maximize profits, for being deliberately stingy with job creation because it's actually in their financial interest to overload existing employees in a market that favors employers.

Did I say funny? I meant typical.

The temerity of a Republican saying that US workers need to "scrape and claw" for work, as if they don't do that even when they're working is beyond contempt. All US workers do is scrape and claw, while the corporations for which they work get richer and richer.

Wamp should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for suggesting that it is US workers who need to work yet harder. Of course, being ashamed of oneself requires a sense of decency, and I've seen precious little evidence of such a thing among Republicans for quite some time.

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