Tom Delay Thinks Unemployed People Are Lazy

delay

On Sunday, March 6, former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who was forced to step down amid legal scandal in 2006, appeared on CNN's State of The Union, lauding Jim Bunning's (R-KY) one man fillibuster against the extension of COBRA and unemployment benefits.

"You know," Delay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions of unemployment benefits keep people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don't look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out."

Unemployment benefits vary widely from state to state, with the average amount being $293 week, which works out to just about minimum wage in many states. Unfortunately for many unemployed and underemployed people, minimum wage just doesn't cut it when it comes to paying the mortgage, buying the groceries, and maintaining health insurance so that if little Sally falls out of a tree, her broken arm doesn't cost the family their home.

Julie, a 28-year-old in Milwaukee, WI, was laid off nine months ago from a job in commercial interior design. She feels that Delay's statement comes from sheer ignorance. While she concedes that there are, perhaps, some people who are happy in their unemployment and collecting benefits (which all tax payers pay into with every paycheck), she says, "Perhaps they have a spouse to provide for them, or some savings stashed away and so they have some time to soul-search and figure out a new career path. As for me and most of the people I have interacted with over the last nine months, this is not the case. I don't want to be unemployed. Take away the stigma associated with unemployment (one that has been made worse by these kinds of statements), and I still don't want to be unemployed."

Julie's life has changed significantly since she was laid off in 2009. She had to give up her apartment and move back home with her parents. She has gone into debt. On top of that, she feels that many people who are unexpectedly unemployed are not fully prepared for the mental and emotional challenges that it brings, on top of the financial stress.

"I have applied to more than 100 positions, created 10 versions of my résumé, taken career workshops, belong to several networking groups in my local community, interviewed for positions across the country, started a blog, did an internship (for free of course), took a part-time job at the mall, created a presence on Linkedin, Twitter, and Brazen Careerists," Julie says. "And yet, here I am. Still unemployed. Still without a decent salary or a dinky apartment to call my own, and my health insurance runs out in October (don't get me going on that). My finances and probably my life as a whole would be in ruin if I didn't have my unemployment benefits."

Her final thoughts on what Mr. Delay has to say about unemployed people being too lazy to look for a job?

"I find that many people who haven't been through an unexpected job loss don't comprehend either the financial severity of the situation or what it does to you on a mental level. I can only hope Mr. Delay never has to be in my situation. I'm sure he would have some smart response to that; but whatever, his ignorance is his bliss."

Alex, a 32-year-old art historian/arts administrator with a masters degree in Las Vegas, NV, has just hit her one-year anniversary of unemployment. "I spend most of my days at home looking for jobs or cooking because I can't really afford to do most of the things that I love. My unemployment benefits have been a godsend to me and my underemployed husband: Without them, we wouldn't be able to pay our rent, but by no means are we living a life of luxury on them."

Alex sends out resumes not only to locations in Nevada and nearby states, but also to jobs that fit her skill set all over the country. "Over the past year, I have applied to many jobs around the country suitable for an art historian/arts administrator with a masters degree, and I have only had two interviews -- and did not get the jobs," she says. "I keep applying to jobs even though this process has perhaps been one of the most disheartening things I've ever experienced. It gets old to work hard on your job applications only to send them off and never hear anything in return."

Alex also notes: "If I was lazy as Delay suggests, I would have given up a long time ago. Instead, I keep sending off job applications and try to remain positive that something good will happen, while maintaining hope that my unemployment benefits will still be there to help make ends meet." As for the suggestion that many unemployed people hear -- that they apply to jobs below their previous level of employment, education, or experience -- she has, and says, "Those jobs are just as competitive. Sometimes being over-educated and experienced is a surefire way to not get a job, too."

Lisa, 37, in New York, is annoyed that people like Delay and Bunning want to take away benefits while the economy is still so fragile and so few companies are hiring. She has spent all of her savings and had to move back home, onto her parents' couch. "I hate how people who are working assume those of us who aren't don't care. At this point I think I've met with every recruiter in the city and sent my resume to nearly every company and I still have no prospects or leads."



Next: COBRA Subsidy Extended >>


Briana Campbell

Editor

After being laid off at the end of 2008, Briana Campbell started the blog Unemployed Brooklyn under the pseudonym of MatchGirl, as a forum to write about life as an unemployed and single girl in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.During her unemployment, Briana has made good use of all her "free" time: organizing happy hours for her fellow unemployed in North Brooklyn - to create a sense of camaraderie and support to those in the same situation; taking classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology; sewing, baking and crafting; creating stuffed animal designs for her Etsy shop, Les Enfants Terribles, and writing for her various blogs.

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KingOfTheCrossroads

I'm a highschool dropout and have never been more than 2 weeks at a time without employment. I didn't even notice this so called recession. It's virtually impossible to not find work, so I don't understand what everyone else's EXCUSE is. Is it really that you can't find employment, or is it that you can't find your "dream job" and are refusing to work elsewhere?

February 07 2012 at 6:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mollee Harper

I almost regurgitated the minute contents of my empty stomach after reading this article. I lost my job as CEO/CFO of a construction company in July 2008, when the recession annihilated the construction industry, and have literally applied to thousands of jobs since. While I wouldn't wish unemployment, and all of the horrors that come with it, upon any one, I am only human. So my wish for Tom Delay is a future filled with the humiliation, isolation and financial devasation, that those of us who are unemployed, live with every second, of every day. His ignorance and arrogance are the very cause for this crisis, this crisis that has destroyed so many of our lives. Tom Delay should be held accountable for his words. Tom Delay should have to recite the U.S. Constitution from memory, from his heart, for his fellow American brothers and sisters to hear. Tom Delay should have to issue a written and oral apology for his spiritual and emotional attacks against his own people. Tom Delay should be ashamed of himself and quite honestly needs to learn first-hand what we now know. Tom Delay should learn to think, perhaps even feel, before he speaks again. God help us all, if Tom Delay represents us in any way, shape, or form.

October 22 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LG

With regards to Mr. Delay comments: Mr. Delay in his lap of luxury and comforts everyday has no threat of financial insecurity and cleary no solutions to the un employment rates that keep rising or remain the same percentages can easily place a degrating comment out into the public. I would love to see Mr. Delay stand next to the millions of Americans who have been HONEST their whole lives in providing for their families fill out a food stamp application. An absurd statement. He is the reason why America has no faith in politicans. We need him to keep making these comments though so we can keep laughing. Hey Mr. Delay, nice tan !! nice fake hair !! Who foot the bill for your vanity? WE DID !!! The lazy un employed Americans paid dearly ...

April 02 2010 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kylie

people are def taking advantage of unemployment. i am a bartender making abt $800 a week off the books and have been collecting for 2 years now. i feel bad but ive paid into unemployment my whole life and of course im gonna take free money. i also know a lot of people doing the same.

March 31 2010 at 4:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pre OL' Guy

TOM DELA : a typical pompous ass elitist politician that would utter the phrase : " ..Oh the people do not have bread to eat?....Then let them eat cake!" No wonder the guillotines were working over time during the French Revolution!

March 27 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Doering

KISS OUR UNEMPLOYED ASS TOM DELANEY.YOU WILL BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHEN YOU GO THROUGH HARD TIMES YOU WILL CRUMBLE LIKE A COOKIE.

March 22 2010 at 3:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OZZIE

TO SAY TOM DELAY IS AN IDIOT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! CONSIDER THE SOURCE FROM THE UNETHICAL B****RD. HE HAS LIKELY NEVER WORKED A LEGITIMATE JOB IN HIS LIFE (RATHER ONLY POLITICS) AND WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE EXHAUSTED OUR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND ARE ONLY LEFT TO BE HOMELESS, OR WORSE TO COMMIT SUICIDE RATHER THAN BECOME A BURDEN ON OUR FAMILY. THE BEST STIMULUS PACKAGE THE GOVERNMENT HAS IS THE UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS WHICH IMMEDIATELY ARE PUMPED BACK INTO THE ECONOMY WITH THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT EACH NEW DOLLAR HAS. WHILE THERE MAY BE A FEW WHO PREFER UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS TO SEEKING WORK, THEY ARE AS UNETHICAL AND STUPID AS HE IS. THE GENERALITY HE MAKES IS OBNOXIOUS. GO TO HELL TOM DELAY!

March 18 2010 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynda

I used to respect Tom DeLay.

Now I am convinced he is a total asshole.

I AM NOT LAZY, YOU JACKASS!!!!! I lost my job eight and a halfmonths ago after coming back from a medical leave of absence. I have applied for over 300 teaching jobs and more than 500 non teaching jobs- guess what DeLay? There isn't anything out there!

March 17 2010 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ronnie

Mr. Delay
36 Years with the same company now 60 YEARS OLD.
How lazy do you think I am ??????????? out of work a year and a half!!
Who do you think will hire me now making what I worked my life for.
Now will lose my house can't keep it making $12.00 an hour

March 17 2010 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kim alaimo

Virginia, You recieved a severence pkg where I did not. Count your blessing on that. I had to cash in my K401 and I lost money on that because the stocks took the big dip! I also paid out for cashing in early and got heavily taxed at tax time. I am really scared...I pray the government realizes or becomes aware soon what the 50 yr olds and up is going thru...

March 16 2010 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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