The 10 Most Hateful Quotes About the
Poor and Unemployed
by Lauren Kelley
I was watching the Rachel Maddow Show the other night while she was discussing the recently filibustered Senate jobs bill, which would have extended unemployment benefits for the 1.2 million Americans who have not been able to find jobs and who are at risk of losing their benefits. (Here's the sum total of what I have to say about that right now: SIGH.)
To illustrate just how hostile some members of Congress are, not only about this bill, but about unemployed Americans in general, Maddow played several blood-boilingly offensive sound bites from some of our country's elected leaders. I've included the quotes from Maddow's show below, along with several other choice examples of our leaders' and the media's disdain for poor people. (Some of these we've covered before, but they bear repeating.)
Enjoy, and may your head explode as much as mine just did!
1. "Is the government now creating hobos?" (The question was rhetorical.) — Rep. Dan Heller (R-Nevada)
2. "You know, we should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugsand not take care of their own children." — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Tell Hatch that drug-testing the unemployed is discriminatory and unconstitutional right here.
3. "We shouldn't turn the safety net into a hammock. It should actually be a safety net." — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
4. "[W]e have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenryand said, you don't want the jobs that are available." — Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate in Nevada and Sen. Harry Reid's opponent
5. "[C]ontinuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work."— Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)
6. "You know, 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." — Former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
7. "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans [after Hurricane Katrina]. We couldn't do it, butGod did." — Former Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-Louisiana)
8. "If you've seen one city slum, you've seen them all." — Former Vice President Spiro Agnew
9. "You know, people are poor in America ... not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals and ethics. And if government can't teach and instill that, we're wasting our time simply giving poor people money." — Radio personality Bill Cunningham
10. "[Y]ou gotta look people in the eye and tell 'em they're irresponsible and lazy .... Because that's what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period." — FOX News host Bill O’Reilly