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Renee Ellmers claims the unemployed are lazy

[1]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 [2].

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 [3].

The simple truth is that the vast majority of the unemployed are not working because there is a huge jobs deficit in this state [4]. 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.