If you ever had any doubt that the primary job of our current and future Congress is to look out for the little guy, may we present exhibit A: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, which amounts to 51 million people currently out of work and unable to support themselves. No one except those 51 million individuals knows how they landed in such an unfortunate predicament, and the reasons are legion: cutbacks, loss of revenue, unpleasant bosses…the point is that people are out of work.
Yet Speaker Boehner seem to have access to insights unavailable to the rest of us mere mortals: last week, he told a crowd at a conservative think tank that unemployed Americans just don’t want to work; they’d rather “just sit around.”
Remember that this man has a driver, a government salary, and a book deal.
Ironically, Boehner’s turn standing at the lectern and answering questions about Paul Ryan’s “poverty plan” serves to remind us all why Congressional approval ratings are at historic lows.
“…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.”
“If you wanted something you worked for it. Trust me, I did it all.”
Yes, you did. Some of those 51 million people may well enjoy the act of bumming smokes on the corner, but a great majority of them are struggling with unemployment benefits, worrying about their 401K funds depleting, and primarily wondering how, exactly, they will put food on their own tables — not to mention those of any dependent family members they may have.
MEMO to the many successful public affairs firms out there in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the United States: talk to your clients about how bad these stories make them look.
Unless, of course, you think you don’t have to work.