Renee Ellmers claims the unemployed are lazy

Why are so many North Carolinians unemployed? According to Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, here’s the big problem:  They’re lazy and don’t want to work.

That’s what the first-term Republican said at a GOP press event in Washington today.

During the event, Ellmers said that the availability of extended unemployment insurance was responsible for the fact that small businesses in her district cannot, allegedly,  fill jobs:

“They have jobs right now that they could be filling and yet they’re not because people are living out that time and now they’re dropping off. That’s why we see an unemployment rate now down to 8.6 percent. Not because thousands of jobs are being created, but because people are simply not looking for jobs anymore.”

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at such an embarrassingly dimwitted and offensive statement.

Earth to Congresswoman Ellmers:

Uh, Renee, it doesn’t work that way. One can’t simply drop out of the workforce and still receive benefits and the availability of benefits is not responsible for high unemployment.

The simple truth is that the vast majority of the unemployed are not working because there is a huge jobs deficit in this state. Unemployment benefits — which provide a comparative pittance (roughly a third of a worker’s employed wage) that’s barely enough to keep a family alive — are not discouraging people from working. To suggest as much constitutes a shocking and reprehensible accusation to level at your constituents during record hard times.

Shame on you, Congresswoman. You owe your Second District constituents an apology.



  1. Rob Schofield

    December 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    And as the story about the press conference noted, this wasn’t the only ridiculous thing Ellmers said.

  2. Rev Carl Johnson

    December 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    She owes and has owed us more than an apology. She has owed us representation of the entire district. Yet, her ill timed, and uninformed comments continue to reflect a thought process of 2 inches width, and one inch in depth that represents a Tea party Manifesto. Sadly, being a Congressional representative requires more intellectual gravitas, which she greatly lacks.

    Simply, Mrs Ellmers has never shown any intellectual capability for arguing a thesis, listening to and understanding an opposing statement and being able to arrive at a new synthesis. It’s as if she has uses one reference, and one reference only, “All I needed to know is what the Tea Party tells me”, by Paul, Ryan, Palin et al.

    Her district meetings have always been a big dog and pony show for her, and an unwillingness to stand and face her constituents. Rather, her meetings have been a showcase of her reading slide decks prepared by others, with no ability to comprehend the data therein, nor any ability to extrapolate such data.

    Ellmer’s is the NC equivalent of Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin. And that’s nothing that instills pride in her constituents as benefactors of her representation.

  3. Julie J

    December 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Wow. Thanks Renee for lumping all of us in with a select “lazy” few. I will have her know that I look everyday for a job and when I’m not looking I am volunteering or working on projects assist local charities. I wonder how “lazy” Renee will feel when she loses her job in Washington!

  4. david esmay

    December 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Who in their right mind would actually vote for this person? The NC GOTP is completely detached from reality and their constituents.


    December 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I am in Tn and unemployed. I worked for a subsidary of GM. They closed our office April 2010 & over 200 people lost their jobs. Only some of these people now have new jobs. Are the others lazy? How can a wife/mother husband/father be lazy when they have to provide housing & food for their family? I think MS. Ellmers needs to spend a day in our lives. On the internet, going for job interviews, or calling friends and family to see if they have heard of a job. Sure, some “might” get hired at McDonalds, but with a college education to pay for, why should they have to take a minimum wage job knowing they will NEVER get hired when possible employers find out. Another issue with finding a job, we have all been out of work a long time and employers dont like that. So, the answer is NO; unemployed workers are not lazy!!!!!!!!!

  6. Lisa Jervis

    December 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Lazy, lazy. I am actually going back to school, borrowed money from my mom to do this. I have a family and my husband is the KING now with one income. I look for jobs daily. Renee, go to a city anywhere, fill out an application and see how long it takes you to get a job. I dare you. Go ahead. I bet you have a maid at your house and a nanny. Get a real life.

  7. Don

    December 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Vote this dimwitted twat out of office, refuse to employ her or visit whatever business she represents. Perhaps she should move in with Perry, another all-star moron.

  8. Diane

    December 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Does she really think that unemployment payments match up to a real salary? And would she be willing to work at a minimum wage job if she were out of work? Or does she think she would never be faced with that? Well I have a doctorate and master’s from an ivy league school and could not find work for two years. The only reason I am working now is because I had to leave the United States. I continue to apply for jobs in the US and continue to get rejection emails, it is now 2 1/2 years since I was laid off. My unemployment payments were 1/4 of my former salary and did not cover my bills–so I went through my savings to live for two years in the US until I could find this job. If I had not gotten this job, I would have had no medical coverage, and no way to pay my loans. This woman needs a wake-up call — if she thinks people are lazy, they should send her copies of their monthly bills and copies of their unemployment payments to show that it is not laziness!!!

  9. michael

    December 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    how could you pe0ople vote her in in the first place.

  10. timothy hicks

    December 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    lets cut her pay to a min an see how she likes living from week to week

  11. Patricia

    December 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I have been unemployed for over 2 yrs now, went back to school for my associates degree, graduated in Aug shortly after unemployment ran out. My sister and her husband paid off my auto loan for me because it was going to be repossessed for $900, a friend of mine was on hard times so my roommate and I gave him a place to stay, and now he is paying my share of the rent. I have applied to probably 1000 jobs have only had a few interviews, I have even applied out of state for employment because I am afraid I will be homeless and a friend has opened her house to me if I need it, because I did it for her when she left her husband… I must also say I am in need of hip replacement surgery but without employment there is no Health Insurance, but that aside, I can’t do the jobs my skill sets are in… 1 reason I went back to school.. I have gone to places to hand in my resume, and they wont take it, b/c everything is done online, and a person gets lost in cyberspace, where 2000 other people are applying for the same job.. I think the lazy people are in congress and other political figures, instead of trying to help the country they block every move the president tries to make to improve the job situation. Unemployment percentage goes down b/c people fall off when their tiers are exhausted, it doesn’t mean they found a job.. I am sooo sick of the people that have ajob or the officials that are unsympathetic to the plight of the unemployed, yes there are some lazy ones, but mostly I am sure that someone unemployed would rather be working… I know I would… b/c looking for a job is a lot more work than having one. All the ones saying we are lazy need to walk in our shoes and try to live on what one gets on unemployment and after unemployment benefits stop.. and your still not working..

  12. Sarah Ovaska

    December 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I’m a reporter and a colleague of Rob’s here at NC Policy Watch and looking to profile what some of the long-term unemployed are going through our state during this holiday season. If that’s you, or a family or friend of yours, could you email me at sarah@ncpolicywatch.com? You can also reach me at my desk at (919) 861-1463. I’m hoping to do interviews this week.

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