Corbett Retracts Prior Statement That Unemployed Would Rather Collect Benefits Than Work

In response to public outrage and chiding from his opponent, gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett reversed his prior statement where he had blamed unemployed Pennsylvanian’s for being jobless. Read the original article at,0,4903822.story
Claiming that the unemployed would rather collect unemployment benefits than work, because minimum wage jobs remain unfilled is foolish for a gubernatorial candidate, especially given the current economic climate. Not only does it incense the electorate, but it builds intense mistrust. With a 9.1% unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, virtually every person in PA has a family member who is unemployed, knows someone who is unemployed, or is concerned about losing his or her own job. But good jobs are few and far between these days. According to Vice President Biden, “there’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.”
If Corbett should become the next Governor of PA, it would be his job to attract new employers to PA, prevent existing PA employers from leaving, and add good job with decent wages. After all, not all jobs are created equal. A family of 4 can not live on one minimum wage job, and few minimum wage jobs provide health care coverage. As for unemployment benefits being an incentive not to work, if you think that $310 per week is an adequate incentive, I welcome you to try making ends meet on $7.75 per hour, before taxes, and not including health care (which is about $500 per month).   
According to Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, (Democratic candidate for PA Governor), Attorney General Corbett’s statement that jobless benefits lead some workers to choose unemployment shows that Corbett “simply doesn’t get it.” If you visited Onorato’s website at, you would think that jobs were his top priority.
According to the Corbett Campaign, however, “Corbett has shown his commitment to turning the economic tides in PA, by developing detailed plans for reforming the state’s job climate, increasing job opportunity and putting Pennsylvanians back to work.” Check out Corbett’s reform package and you decide whether his proposals will help average Pennsylvanians by putting them back to work, or preventing them from losing their job in the first place. 
Corbett has since publicly apologized for his insensitive remark. He even claimed that he was merely relating the words of someone else, but the damage is already done. Now, he must win back the electorate by regaining their trust, which takes time, and lots of it.


 Pundits still put Corbett ahead of Onorato by as much as 10 points in the polls. For the past 8 months, the catch-phrase for the PA Governor’s race has been “It’s Corbett’s to lose”. The Corbett’s campaign is blaming the Onorato’s campaign and the Harrisburg Patriot News for fueling the fire.  The Onorato campaign certainly has benefited from Corbett’s gaff (if it was in fact a gaff).  Maybe we have all benefited from Corbett’s misstatement. Both campaigns are now refocused on finding solutions to substantive issues like unemployment, job creation, job retention and Pennsylvania’s economy. 

 —-  David A. Ross, J.D.
Additional Articles:
(7/20/10) Tom Corbett chalks up criticism over unemployment remarks to negative campaigning by Dan Onorato , by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA) 

(7/20/10) Gov. Ed Rendell blasts GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tom Corbett for his unemployment remarks, by Kari Andren, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA)


About David A. Ross and Associates
David A. Ross, J.D. is a public policy and advocacy consultant from Pennsylvania. David A. Ross and Associates connects companies, nonprofits and government agencies to the rules, tools, information and resources they need to achieve their mission goals.

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