Jobs aren’t the only thing you can’t find in Tennessee, we’re also in the middle of a major leadership crisis.
Democrats won the fight to include jobless benefits for 28,000 Tennesseans in the final state budget, but it wasn’t without callous and incorrect dissent from Republicans.
Instead of looking for meaningful solutions to fix our state economy by laying out serious plans to put 300,000 out of work Tennesseans back on the job, our elected leaders Rep. Glen Casada and Rep. Tim Wirgau demonized citizens for being out of a job.
THE FACTS: Bad GOP Economy, Lack of Jobs to Go Around
Tennesseans are looking for jobs, but, under this Republican leadership, the state economy is toxic. When the jobs picture in 47 states has stabilized or improving – how is it that Tennessee’s unemployment problem is getting worse? [Bloomberg, 5/20/11]
Payrolls grew in 42 states in April. The only states going the opposite direction were Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
The jobs that do open up are getting tons of attention.
- In Hamilton County, Amazon.com received 4,300 applications in two days. They can only hire a fraction of those people. You can’t tell me people aren’t looking. [Memphis Business Journal, 5/18/11]
- In Tullahoma, 60 people applied for 10 jobs — at McDonalds. [Tullahoma News & Guardian, 4/28/11]
- In Shelby County, more than 20,000 job-seekers applied over 14 days to work at a brewery that plans to hire 500 workers over the next five years. [The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, 4/13/11]
- In Montgomery County, “thousands of people” attend a two-day job fair in Clarksville. [The Leaf-Chronicle, 4/28/11]
- In Rutherford County, 800 people apply for teaching positions. [Daily News Journal, 5/15/11]
- In Knox County, Jobs News’ drew more than 1,400 seekers. [WVLT, 5/4/11]
Betsy Phillips at The Nashville Scene has more on Wirgau and Casada:
I hope y’all didn’t miss this little gem on Friday. In a story about extending the unemployment benefits for thousands of our most-screwed Tennesseans, Glen “Let Then Eat Cake” Casada and Tim Wirgau argued against the measure.
Andy Sher, in the Chattanooga Times Free Press , has the relevant quotes.
First from Casada:
But Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove, the former House Republican Caucus chairman, spoke against acting, saying that although most of the money comes from the federal government, it affects all taxpayers.
“We cannot continue to borrow money to give to people who don’t have a job after 79 weeks,” Casada told the chamber. “I would contend the answer to that is it’s up to individuals to help their family and their friends and neighbors who don’t have a job.”
Apparently Casada doesn’t know that individuals who have family, friends and neighbors are taxpayers, but Casada is … well, Casada. Hard to even get mad at him anymore, really.
But Tim Wirgau is a more interesting case. He says, “We got people who can’t find jobs, but we got more people who don’t look for jobs because we keep handing them money.” Got that? There are, according to Wirgau, people who can’t find jobs — that’s one group — but there’s a larger group of people who don’t even bother to look for jobs because they’re lolling around counting that sweet unemployment money.
In Wirgau’s own district in March, there were 3,420 people out of work. If some of them can’t find jobs but “more” of them aren’t even bothering to look, that means there are, at the least, 1,711 people in District 75 who just aren’t trying hard enough, by Wirgau’s own metric. There are jobs; those jackasses just aren’t working them.
Here’s my question: If what Wirgau says is true — there are all those people who could find jobs, if they’d just look, which would mean there’s at least 1,711 open positions in his district, why isn’t he setting up some kind of program to tell the people who can’t find jobs about them?