Rick Scott, the corrupt and fraudulent former health care executive who is soon to be Florida’s next Governor, received a report from his economic transition team this week that recommended he needs to crack down on the unemployed. Scott’s economic team, headed by the state’s most affluent business leaders, quoted research by former Obama administration official Alan Krueger to claim that the unemployed are lazy and need to be driven off unemployment benefits:
“According to [former U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan] Krueger’s research, the amount of time people on UC spent looking for a job averaged only 20 minutes a day! Within 2 weeks of UC ending, that increased but to only 70 minutes a day,” states the document, noting that the median duration of unemployment benefits receipt has increased nationally from 10 weeks to 18.7 weeks.
The team’s recommendations: tighten job-search requirements for people getting benefits, cut off assistance for those who don’t comply and assign community work for those who don’t get a job in 12 weeks. Goals: increase employment and reduce the payout of unemployment benefits, as well as the unemployment compensation tax burden on businesses.
Krueger, who is a well-regarded professor of economics at Princeton University, took issue with the characterization of his research.
First, he said, the research — which was conducted during the stronger economic period of the mid 2000s — actually shows that the average amount of time spent job-searching is double what the report says — more than 40 minutes a day, not 20.
Secondly, “the unemployed in the U.S. devote more time searching for a job than unemployed workers in other countries,” Krueger wrote in an e-mail, “yet they [Scott’s team] make it seem that the unemployed put little effort into finding a job.”
And lastly, he added that the real problem faced by the unemployed today “is lack of jobs, not overly generous benefits.” The team, he said, “misspelled my name and misused my study!”
Unemployed Floridians reacted with disgust when told of the Scott team’s assertion. “That’s stupid,” said Freddy Pacheco, an unemployed 61-year-old woman. She told Tampa Bay Online that she spends about four or five hours a day, three days a week, looking for work. Unemployed Florida resident Laura Mroczko also dismissed the report. “Look around,” she said, pointing at a line of people at the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance jobs agency searching for work. “These people are here looking for work. You can’t survive on what unemployment pays you.”
Rick Scott’s environmental team advised him to merge the “state’s environmental, growth management and transportation departments into a single agency called the Department of Growth Leadership.”Environmental activist Linda Young of the Clean Water Network said, “The message is, ‘We are going to have a feeding frenzy on your natural resources and tax dollars, and you are going to have jack…to say about it, so get used to it.’”