Is Unemployment Compensation the New Welfare…It is According to Newt Gingrich

Former Congressman Newt Gingrich seemingly equates welfare with unemployment compensation. He believes people become satisfied with unemployment checks and only go through the motions of actually looking for a job. In an email to supporters Gingrich cited a Wall Street journal article and said this “For instance, the extension of unemployment benefits has given people a perverse incentive to stay on unemployment rather than accept a job. The part-owner of a machine parts company, Mechanical Devices, is looking for as many as 40 new engineers, but is quoted in the article as saying many applicants at job fairs were “just going through the motions so they could collect their unemployment checks.” The article also quotes an engineer who admits he turned down more than a dozen offers because the salary would have been less than he made on welfare.” So the 9.5% of Americans on unemployment are living the good life? Please give me a break. The conservatives constantly accuse the president of being elitist but this kind of thinking is the very definition of elitism. Gingrich who has a Congressional pension and healthcare for life is in no position to take potshots at the unemployed. Sadly, they are still the ones stuck paying his pension.

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  • elogam  On August 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    EM you can NOT be serious! He didn’t say ALL people on unemployment are avoiding finding jobs and are “living the good life” as you allege. Newt Gingrich made a comment, and like the college educator he is, supported that comment with concrete examples and quotes. As always, there is a SEGMENT of the population that is doing this, not the majority. If there are jobs not being filled because unemployment pays more than the starting salary, that has to be acknowledged and addressed. Maybe then they will have 40 new engineers instead of 40 vacancies.

    Let’s talk about elite. Obama claims that the US needed to pass that abysmal Healthcare Bill because “millions” of people “Didn’t have healthcare”. The facts are different, but because he’s “The One” I guess it’s OK to overstate the facts and spend millions of dollars. Gingrich states a fact, supports it with checkable statements and anecdotes, and you castigate him and overstate his position. Well, that’s OK, Republicans are used to that. Finally, Gingrich lawfully EARNED his congressional pension and benefits, just like any other government employee who serves the necessary time. Whether or not they are excessive can be debated, but do not imply that he’s on the dole because he gets benefits he’s earned.

  • musesofamom  On August 13, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Elogam I will concede he did not say all but the implication that people find unemployment better than employment is ludicrous. Yes he did earn his pension and when you have one and great healthcare you can sit on the sidelines and make inappropriate assertions about “some” of the unemployed.

  • Lisa Krempasky  On August 14, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Unemployment has become welfare for the middle class. The unemployed should be out starting businesses or getting more education and not sitting at home fretting about what happens when the government quits paying them. We are stealing their initiative and risk-taking just like welfare did that for the hard working lower class in the 1960s.

  • LPM  On August 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog since its inception and I’ve never felt compelled to comment until now. Your comment, really hit home for me. My husband recently lost a job with a good (not exorbitant) income. After working for nearly 40 years and never having applied for unemployment before, he exercised his right to apply. If he should get the maximum benefit, he would receive $420/week. Let’s do the math here: at approximately 4.5 weeks per month (actually less, but I’m being generous), he’ll get $1890/month. Subtract 17% ($321) for taxes and we’re down to $1569. Next, we have health insurance with modest (and I do mean modest) coverage, no vision or dental, for a family of five – one member over 55 (higher premium), two members with pre-exiting conditions (longer wait time) – cost: $760/month (plus a “modest” deductible). Now we are down to $809 per month. Mortgage (no mansion with flatscreens in every room here)? Groceries? Gas & Electric? School clothes (modest, not name brand) for three children? $809?

    It’s hard for me to even fathom that there are people out there who actually believe that people in that situation would be “sitting at home fretting about what happens when the government quits paying them.” Perhaps there are some. Believe me, $809 per month certainly is not going to “steal” my husband’s “initiative.” And just for the record pertaining to the “getting more educated” comment, my husband is currently a doctoral candidate and will continue to pursue his degree while looking for a job. He is a “doer” – like most of the other people in my circle of friends.

    We need to be careful of the possible implications when we make sweeping statements, such as “Unemployment has become the welfare of the middle class.” I would venture to say that there are probably many other families out there much like mine – people who don’t particularly like collecting unemployment, but need to provide for their families in an abysmal economy. This does not mean that they are not looking for another job, furthering their education as they are able (education cost money and when you don’t have a job…), and seeking entrepreneurial interests. They are being responsible and trying to make ends meet. I respect your viewpoint, but it just doesn’t jibe with my experience or what I see in my world. Ebony mom – please accept my apologies for writing a novel here:-)

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