Republican State Rep. Josh Byrnes of Iowa took to Politico’s Arena today to say exactly what President Obama did not. The president is under attack by Rick Perry and other Republicans for supposedly saying that Americans are lazy. However, he never said anything of the sort, as even Rick Perry surely knows. He was talking about efforts to win foreign investment, not the American people.
GOP State Rep: Actually, Americans Are Pretty Lazy
That hasn’t stopped Iowa Rep. Josh Byrnes from bravely agreeing with the president on what he never said. Byrnes does in fact think Americans are lazy, or at least the tens of millions of American unemployed:
I might have to partially agree with President Obama on this one. I don’t think Americans as a whole are lazy, but we have some pockets of Americans that appear lazy. Ironically, the president has helped enable some of these pockets by doing things like extending unemployment benefits.
In other words, the president is “enabling” lazy Americans by providing unemployment benefits. In reality, the nearly 10% of Americans who are unemployed are living on the edge of ruin, struggling to pay mortgages and put food on the table while looking for work from companies that are slow to hire and governments that are being forced to lay off more and more workers. But Byrnes thinks we’re coddling them. He also seems to think that unemployed Americans could get jobs if they really wanted to, but unlike our “immigrating ancestors” they’re too proud:
There are jobs out there and I think the problem is that some people think some of these jobs are beneath them. When you are unemployed I don’t think there should be any job “below” you. In truth it’s probably more of an ego or perception issue than being lazy. Thank goodness our immigrating ancestors to the United States didn’t have that attitude.
Byrnes cites a less than impressive array of evidence in making his case:
We have a huge skills gap issue in this country and there is absolutely no reason why some of our able bodied unemployed can’t take these jobs. In good old Riceville, Iowa (population 900), they had an ad for 40+ welders. They make garbage trucks and cement trucks and they can’t find enough welders.
Note to Byrnes: With all due respect to the good people of Riceville, the US economy is a bit more complicated than that.