Newt Gingrich, who is currently mulling a presidential bid in 2012, said at a political event in South Carolina on Thursday that most of America's problems can be blamed on the "leftist news media," Hollywood, tenured academics, overpaid federal workers, and unemployed people.
"I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing," he told the crowd of 250 cheering GOP activists in a state with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate.
Comparing unemployment benefits to welfare, a system he worked with former President Clinton to overhaul in the mid-1990s, Gingrich asserts that the country spent $134 billion last year on unemployment compensation "and got nothing for it." Instead of wasting money "paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks," he would make job training mandatory for anyone getting an unemployment check.
There are five jobless people for everyone one job opening right now, making it difficult for even the most industrious job hunters to find work, yet Gingrich's comments echo the sentiments of a number of GOP Congressmen who believe unemployment benefits make people lazy. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), for instance, said jobless benefits mean people are "encouraged not to go look for work," and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told South Carolina's News 13: "We can't just keep paying people to stay at home."