What On Earth Is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett Smoking?

Tom Corbett blames the stoners for Pennsylvania's lousy unemployment numbers. What is he smoking?

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I told you before that the only difference between PA Gov. Tom Corbett and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is that Corbett made sure to avoid saying things in front of TV cameras that might turn up on YouTube. Well, there you go.

The ALEC-subordinate gov was being interviewed on PAMatters.com when the topic of the state's poor job statistics came up --- and there it was, finally: A classic Corbett moment.

First, he complains the statistics are "misleading." He said we were in better shape than other states when the recession hit, so those other states are growing faster now because they were in worse shape. (Although we went from 7th to 49th in job growth since he became governor. Oh, and he previously blamed unemployment on... unemployment benefits, the favored bugaboo of all good Republicans who kiss the Koch rings.)

"The other area is, there are many employers that say, 'We're looking for people but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test,' a lot of them. And that's a concern for me because we're having a serious problem with that."

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It's the triple axle of Republican spin, the old "many people have told me" trick of trying to pass off anecdotes as data! He and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley must be working out of the same ALEC playbook.

Yesterday afternoon, Corbett's office referred the Huffington Post to Dave N. Taylor, director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association:

Taylor said drug use is part of an overall workforce readiness problem that includes things like basic communication skills and punctuality.

"Our manufacturing employers have to go through hundreds of applicants just to get a handful who are qualified," Taylor said, noting that employers need clean workers in order to obtain insurance. "I don't believe that many people understand that by being recreational drug users they're rendering themselves unemployable."

One problem figuring out exactly how many job applicants disqualify themselves with drugs, Taylor said, is that some people drop out of the application process as soon as they know there's a drug test.

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I don't do drugs, but I've killed applications for that very reason because I resent how they've spread to every job sector out there. I'll bet I'm not the only person who feels that way, either. But the people I know who do use drugs have all figured out how to beat the tests, and they're all gainfully employed. Go figure!

And they're lumping all these factors in together. I'm sure drug use is a factor in some jobs, but it would be nice if instead of telling people they're not educated enough (or too stoned) to get jobs, Gov. Corbett concerned himself with addressing the underlying issues, like this:

Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty - people with incomes below half of the poverty line - of any of the nation's 10 most populous cities.

The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it's around $11,700.

Philadelphia's deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent.

The numbers come from an examination of the 2009 through 2011 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey by The Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh.

[...] The Philadelphia deep-poverty figure wasn't a complete surprise for antipoverty advocates, since the city already has the highest poverty rate - 28.4 percent - of any of America's biggest cities.

Still, it's significant, because while many people who live just below the poverty line often move out of poverty, those in deep poverty are in such a profoundly disadvantaged state that they're more likely to stay mired in it, according to Judith Levine, a Temple sociologist. "Poverty becomes a long-term experience, and it's very different, especially for children," she said.

Children in deep poverty do worse in school than less poor kids, said Arloc Sherman, researcher with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"The consequences may last decades," he said.

Yet the Republican-controlled state legislature, under Corbett, continues their push to starve the Philadelphia public schools of adequate funding, all the while showering cash on fly-by-night for-profit charter schools. (And Wall Street.) If Gov. Corbett actually gave a rat's ass about getting adequately trained employees for manufacturing jobs, he might start with the largest city's abysmal literacy rate. Because if you can't read any higher than a third-grade level, odds are you're not going to community college to train for a decent job.

But Corbett is just another soulless Republican scumbag -- and that's an insult to prophylactics, which at least serve a useful function. State Senate Majority Leader Dom Pillegi, another scumbag who got his start as a bagman in the famously corrupt Delaware County, is pushing hard to change the state's electoral system to ensure a Republican presidential win -- and it also might save Corbett's bacon. (This is why I despise the Republican party. When they can't win on the merits, they lie, cheat, steal or change the rules to win. They don't like actual democracy, because it's the only thing standing between them and total control.)

Tom Corbett is a pimple on the ass of humanity, and I will dance all night on his political grave when Pennsylvanians finally kick his lying, greedy ass to the curb. From these lips to God's ears!

About Susie Madrak

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