While sitting in his multimillion dollar home, Rush Limbaugh claimed that unemployed people are lazy and have no incentive to work because they still have food to eat.
Audio via Media Matters:
Limbaugh said, “Some people have said that I sound like I’m a little cold hearted about this. I’m not. Unemployment in America. You’ve got your car. The way to put this. The unemployed are still eating, and so what’s the problem? The unemployed have their cell phones. They have their cars. They’ve got their flat screens and food. Being unemployed is not what it used to be. When you were out of work, you were in dire circumstances. And your unemployment compensation didn’t come close to substituting what you lost when you lost your job. No, I am talking about incentives. What’s the incentive to work? There isn’t near enough the necessity, and I am telling you, you take away the notion of careers from the American jobs experience, or universe whatever you want to call it. This is massive massive change that is not, in this case, good.”
Rush Limbaugh thinks that the reason why the unemployed don’t have jobs is that we have made life to easy for them by making sure that they can eat. Limbaugh’s thoughts are the mainstream opinion within the Republican Party when it comes to unemployment. Republicans have repeatedly tried to cut food stamps in 2012 and 2013. Limbaugh’s thoughts on how to deal with the unemployed reflect the Ryan budget, and in the Republican plan to deal with the debt ceiling deadline later this year. Limbaugh’s comments about the unemployed still having a car echo the Farm Bill amendment that Paul Ryan proposed that would have disqualified people from food assistance eligibility if their car was worth more than $5,000.
The idea that the unemployed somehow have it easy is a Republican myth that goes back to Ronald Reagan’s imaginary Cadillac driving Chicago welfare queen. Only one state provides 50% of lost wages as an unemployment benefit (Hawaii). Unemployment benefits average about $300 a week, but they vary from state to state, and can be closer to $200 a week in some places.
Unemployment benefits provide enough money for people to barely subsist on. The idea that unemployment benefits kill the motivation to work is a right wing fairy tale that is used to justify taking resources away from the people who need them most.
Rush Limbaugh gets paid to say extreme things, but in this case, he was echoing the beliefs of his party. The Republican Party really believes that they can solve the unemployment problem by starving the unemployed. Republicans don’t see the unemployed as the victims of greedy system that crashed the economy. They view the unemployed as lazy people who think they are entitled to food. Republicans believe that the unemployed are part of Mitt Romney’s 47%. They are moochers who would give off the couch if the government would stop giving them things.
Welcome to Republican world. They crashed the economy and caused you to lose your job, but don’t expect them to give you anything to eat.