On Washington Journal Wednesday, Tom Coburn appeared to spend a few minutes smacking down the unemployed again.
COBURN: now that we're running $1.4 trillion deficits every year. it's high time we start paying for them. I understand. That's the problem with Washington. We're going to do it the way we've always done it. That's what's gotten us in severe financial difficulty and really mortgaged our future.
[Aside: No, Senator Coburn. Our future was mortgaged when we let the rich get big, big tax cuts with no pay-for. But continue on...]
HOST: If the Democrats continue to put forward legislation that doesn't cut programs to pay for unemployment benefits, and the unemployed do not get this -- these money in their pockets, some have said, Ezra Klein of the "Washington Post" said the unemployment numbers will continue to swell and that the problem really right now is not that these people refuse to look for work or settle for lesser-paying jobs, but just that for every one job, there's five people unemployed and that will continue to be the problem. And we're just going to leave them without incomes and job opportunities and money to end? That's making it harder for those economies to generate jobs? That's the -- --
COBURN: Well, all that is, is a strong-man argument. We're not saying don't do that. We're just saying it's important now, if you look at the scheme of things, that if we're going to do that now, we pay for it.
COBURN: I live with Congressman Heath Shuler. He told me yesterday he had a job fair in North Carolina. High unemployment. I was talking to Congressman Shuler, He worked hard to get every major company there. Filled the whole room. Had over 500 jobs available. Three people showed up. Three people showed up for 500 jobs in an area that had unemployment above 10%. His explanation is they are not going to do it until the benefits lessen.
So and that may not be an exact interpretation of what his words were.
But the fact is there was a negative aspect to continuing unemployment.
Gosh, only three people showed up? Only three people? Coburn goes on to claim that the jobless just aren't going to hunt for jobs when they're on the dole. Maybe the best part is how he segues from this sly bashing right into an argument for tax cuts for corporations and the rich to stimulate the economy, but I digress. Back to the job fair...
Of course, Coburn's snarky little conclusion (which he pawns off on Shuler, his roommate) ignores the fact that many unemployed folks aren't receiving unemployment benefits, thanks to the Republicans' obstinance with regard to the extension of said benefits.
I would think a job fair where only three people and "every major company was there" would be news of some sort, in a state where unemployment is over 10%. Someone (besides Shuler's roomie, Sen. Coburn) would be talking about it, right? So I went looking and found...nothing.
Finally, I visited Rep. Shuler's official website where I did find a Google map with events listed on it. Since Rep Coburn mentioned "yesterday" on a July 14th show, I used July 13th as the date for this scheduled jobs fair with 500 companies representing.
Here's what I found:
What's New for Small Businesses in 2010
Tuesday, July 13, from 9 am to 11 am
Haywood Community College
Building 1500 Auditorium
Participating agencies include the Small Business Centers at Blue Ridge and Haywood Community Colleges, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), SCORE, and Mountain BizWorks.
That doesn't look like a job fair to me. Here's what job fairs look like: Hundreds come out for a handful of jobs. It certainly doesn't seem to be inviting jobless citizens to come out and meet up with folks offering FIVE HUNDRED JOBS, does it?
It looks like a small business seminar. And it would appear to be aimed at existing small business owners who would be taking two hours out of their work day running their small business to attend. I can see where it might get light attendance, particularly since I don't find any ads in the local paper for it.
Light attendance notwithstanding, there's just no way this even touches the edge of that job fair Coburn described in such rapt detail. It's a small business seminar for existing small businesses.
Also, Rep. Shuler might want to actually publicize these things if he wants people to attend. It is summer after all, and businesses are covering vacations for those folks who ARE employed.
If I were Tom Coburn, I'd start thinking about how to spin this, because right now it looks like a big fat hairy lie.
If I were Rep. Shuler, I'd wonder about my roommate and good buddy going on C-Span and making it look like I complained that my constituents were deadbeats.
Don't they know people actually watch this stuff?
(h/t Angry Bear)