Fox guest bashing benefits can't keep talking points straight
Covering the standoff on unemployment benefits, The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney has complained about lawmakers on both sides of the aisle "who suspect the jobless of preferring not to work."
Pundits and guests on Fox News Channel, in particular, have been advancing similar opinions.
Bill Auchmoody, CEO of Partnership Staffing Inc., a temp agency in Richmond, Virginia, told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade Thursday that he has a hard time finding workers because so many are receiving unemployment benefits.
"We'll hire 200 to 300 people every month and about five percent of those folks may tell us that because of their unemployment benefits, it's not worth them taking a job," said Auchmoody.
Auchmoody apparently can't keep his talking points straight, because he was quoted in the Wall Street Journal -- which is also owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- last week tossing off a different figure.
Auchmoody told WSJ's Sara Moody last week, "We only get about 2% or 3% who use the excuse to us, blatantly, face-to-face, 'You know, that's not enough money, I make more money on unemployment."
Auchmoody said on Fox Thursday, "You have to explain to them a $9 or $10 an hour job is really better for them to take it because when they get their unemployment benefits their taxes aren't being taken out of that and so when they see their net check, they think they're better off but the opportunity in taking a job and potentially moving up or going full time with one of my clients is far more upside to that than sitting at home on the dole."
"Some people say that's callous to think that if you don't extend unemployment benefits, one of the reasons you don't extend unemployment benefits is because people lose the incentive to get a job," said Kilmeade "It's easier to stay home. You're saying that's reality."
"That is reality. And we have people now in the last couple of weeks where their unemployment benefits are running out that I've spoken to personally who say I have to have a job next week. Why can't you send me to work? My question is why didn't you register a month ago and try to find work a month ago rather than you are running out of benefits and you need to get to work tomorrow," replied Auchmoody.
It's not the first time that opinion has been heard on the conservative network. Earlier this month, Nina Easton expressed a similar view. "In the past, what has happened is it actually extends unemployment because people wait till the last minute before their benefits run out to find a job, to relocate to take jobs that they really didn't want to take," she told Fox News' Major Garrett.
Unemployment benefits expired in June so if Auchmoody is right he may soon have all the workers he needs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Wednesday that he would hold a vote next Tuesday on resuming those benefits. Because of its cost, Republicans along with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) have been preventing a final vote on the bill.
However, Delaney counters "there are currently five people looking for work for every job opening, according to the Department of Labor, and only 67 percent of the nearly 15 million unemployed receive benefits in the first place."
For all the anecdotes about business owners having hiring trouble, there are job ads flatly stating that the unemployed need not apply. But suspicion of the unemployed, coupled with wariness of the deficit, has led to an epic holdup in Congress over reauthorizing benefits for people who've been jobless for six months or longer. The benefits lapsed at the end of May, causing some 2.1 million so far to miss checks.
"Now it looks like they're not going to get extended," said Kilmeade. "Maybe the [expiring] unemployment benefits will get people to sober up and take some of your offers," he told Auchmoody.
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast July 15, 2010.