Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann and Steve King (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The newest case in point: he thinks the problem with unemployment in America today is that we are "a nation of slackers":
REP. STEVE KING: United States of America borrows money and hands it to people and tells them, you don't have to work for this. You don't have to produce anything for this. We just want you to spend it. That's your patriotic duty, to take the money that we borrowed from the Chinese, and the debt burden we put on our grandchildren, and put it in people's hands and say it's a patriotic thing, take your food stamps and take your rent subsidy and heat subsidy and your unemployment check, and go engage in commerce, that's patriotic. Um, no? [...]
The former speaker of the House, Speaker Pelosi, has consistently said that unemployment checks are one of those reliable and immediate forms of economy recovery, that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you pay people not to work, and they will go out and spend that money immediately, therefore we should pass out unemployment checks and stimulate the economy. That statement is ridiculous where I come from, Mr. Speaker. To pay people not to work, and somehow in that formula it stimulates the economy. [...]
The 80 million Americans that are of working age but are simply not in the workforce need to be put to work. We can't have a nation of slackers and then have me have to sit in the Judiciary Committee listening to them argue that there's work that Americans won't do, so we have to import people to do the work that Americans won't do, and borrow money to pay the welfare of people that won't work. That is a foolish thing for a nation to do. We've gotta get this country back to work and get those people out of the slacker rolls and onto the employed rolls.
So the reason we have all these unemployed people, or poor people, or hungry people is not a lack of decent jobs, but apparently just that Americans are lazy slobs, and if they would only get off their asses and work the problem would be solved. Note that the jobs Americans won't do is something that a John McCain would say, so King is hardly on the fringe of conservative thought here, but the thing King is most immediately railing against here is the premise that assisting the poor is, regardless of the obvious morality of the thing, also an act that stimulates the economy as a whole: That would seem to be uncontroversial, though, if we were to simply look at the data.
Steve King, however, never looks at the data, for any reason. He believes that the problem with America is that we give money to poor people, or give people unemployment insurance so that families that suffer temporary joblessness are not immediately catapulted into homelessness and poverty, and so like most modern conservatives he has no interest in the bare facts of whether these things are successful or not. He believes that the problem is that a new, large segment of the American population simply can't be bothered to work, and if he believes it, to hell with anything else.
So here is a question for Steve King. Unemployment is currently above nine percent, as many people keep repeating over and over. It is usually much less. Does this mean that the problem with America's current economy is that over the last few years, a massive number of Americans simply turned lazy? Why? What happened to suddenly turn them into "slackers" in such large numbers?
According to Steve King, the problem isn't a lack of jobs. He says we've "gotta get this country back to work," but he has done his damnedest to make sure that America does nothing to actually put people to work. We could have a jobs program, if Steve "biggest asshole in the Congress" King wasn't trying his best to foil it in increasingly petty, stupid little ways. We could build some infrastructure, we could fix some old infrastructure, we could make those sorts of investments in America's future while retraining our workforce at the same time, and it would all be very, very cheap, considering how investors are currently throwing free money at the United States, in the form of the bond markets: But we can't have any of that. All we can have is small-minded little congressmen heckling the jobless as being lazy and shiftless: Apparently, that is the only "jobs" program Steve King feels America needs.
There is good news, however, and I expect every unemployed American to take him up on this: Steve King believes that there are jobs out there. So go ask him for one. Call him up, send him an email, and he'll fix you up. Out of work for a year? Two years? Longer? Call his office and tell them that you heard that America has plenty of jobs, and that you would fucking like one please, thank you very much. Tell King to stop holding out: If he knows of a treasure-trove of jobs that would solve all these unemployment problems, then why the hell is this patriotic jackass keeping it to himself? Come up with the company names, tell us where to get the application forms. If all it takes to get a job in America is to want one, then call Congressman Steve King up and tell him you want one, and your problems will, apparently, be over.