WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner's Thursday lament that unemployed people think they can "just sit around" instead of working shows how much the political conversation about the economy has changed.
During a Thursday event to promote his own jobs plan, however, Boehner let his hair down by lamenting "this idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don't have to work. I don't really want to do this. I think I'd rather just sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country."
A spokesman for Boehner told Reuters the speaker wasn't trying to call the unemployed lazy, despite the clear implication.
UPDATE: From Igor Volsky, writing at ThinkProgress:
But the unemployed aren’t jobless because they’re lazy or receive government benefits. Most face huge obstacles to finding good paying jobs in a slow economic recovery.
Currently, there are more than two job seekers for every job opening in the country and the severity of the recession has created a long-term unemployment problem that has made many job seekers almost unemployable. Research shows that being unemployed for nine months has the same impact on your odds of getting hired as losing four full years of experience from a résumé. As a result, many people who lost their jobs have gone back to school, retired early, or continue to look for work without success.
In fact, millions of unemployed people are having a harder time finding a job since Congressional Republicans allowed the long-term unemployment benefits program to lapse. Research — and real world experience — has found that the program’s job search requirements encourage people to spend more time job hunting and helps cover essentials like internet service for job applications or gas money for interviews.