Friday, July 16, 2010

Even More on Corbett

Dan Onorato, Democratic candidate for governor, is having a field day with Tom Corbett's comments on the unemployed. Today the campaign released a video ad contrasting Corbett saying people won't go back to work until their unemployment benefits run out with a newscast on a job fair that brought out 800 people for 100 jobs.

Yesterday Onorato's campaign released this statement:

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato today joined Philadelphia workers and job-seekers in denouncing Tom Corbett’s repeated comment that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than go back to work.

“Tom Corbett has said since March that he thinks Pennsylvanians would rather be unemployed than earning money for their families,” Onorato said. “A Harrisburg insider like Tom Corbett who doesn’t even recognize the problems families are facing will never be able to offer the solutions that Pennsylvania need.”

On Friday, Corbett told Pennsylvania Public Radio that: “People don’t want to come back to work while they still have unemployment…. The jobs are there, but if we keep extending unemployment the people are going to sit there…”

The comment echoed a similar remark in March, when following a visit to a job referral center in Lancaster, Corbett “provocatively suggested that Congress’ decision to extend unemployment benefits might be having the opposite of its intended effect and actually be serving as a disincentive to go back to work. ‘What I see here are people looking for jobs, but that’s only 10 percent [of the unemployed],’ he said. ‘What about the other 80 or 90 percent?’” [Capitol Ideas, March 18, 2010]

The fall-out from Corbett’s insult to the 591,000 unemployed Pennsylvanians continued on Wednesday, as the Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial titled “Unemployed, not lazy,” stating that: “Tom Corbett should see all the jobless people not sitting at home.”

And the Allentown Morning Call reported that Corbett’s view of the unemployed puts him “in good company” among right-wing politicians and conservative economists.

Even as the Corbett campaign worked to deflect attention from the fact that the candidate has consistently blamed the unemployed, they have continued to struggle to identify the “source” of Corbett’s observation.

On Friday, Corbett “pointed to one candy company in Camp Hill as an example, saying the owner told him they hired 50 European college students for the summer when the company was unable to fill its full-time positions.” [Capitolwire, July 9, 2010]

Later, his spokesman told another reporter that, “Corbett was simply relating a story told by the owner of a plumbing business. He did not name the business.” [Allentown Morning Call, July 9, 2010]

On Monday, the number of sources grew. Speaking in Lancaster, Corbett told Capitolwire: “That’s what had been reported to me. I’ve had three or four people tell me, people have turned down work.”

And on Philadelphia’s CBS3 TV news show yesterday, Corbett said he was “was repeating a story that I’d heard from about five, six, seven different people across the state of Pennsylvania.”

Capitol Ideas has some details on the company Corbett pointed out as having difficulty getting workers to come back.

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