Corbett, Onorato Both Wishy-Washy on UC

Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate, continues to take flak for comments he made regarding the unemployed and Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits.

After Corbett made comments that “the jobs are there” and implying many unemployed are not taking jobs to keep UC benefits, the campaign is in damage control mode, qualifying the comments that Corbett doesn’t think most people are exploiting the system. But new reports show that Corbett made similar, not-well-rehearsed comments earlier, implying that a large number of people are not seeking work.

Curiously, despite these quotes, Corbett endorses an extension of UC benefits.

Dan Onorato, his opponent in the gubernatorial race, has blasted Corbett’s comments as insensitive and out of touch and launched to get some more attention off the gaffe.

Yet Onorato withheld support for another UC benefits extension:

Onorato withheld offering strong support for the idea Monday, saying only that he did not oppose the idea after being asked by reporters several times. He stressed that the benefits, whether extended or not, are only a temporary solution.

Note that Onorato previously told Capitolwire (subscription) “While extending unemployment benefits would ‘be helpful,’ Onorato said he is ‘also realistic that that’s not a long-term answer.'”

And Onorato acknowledged some of the problems with Pennsylvania UC system, calling for enforcing job search requirements to receive benefits (a recommendation of the Commonwealth Foundation).

So it seems both Onorato and Corbett are pretty wishy-washy on a UC benefits extension – neither thinks it’s a good policy solution, but both seem willing to go along and do it anyway.

Yet the facts remain that unemployment extensions don’t create jobs and are no stimulus, and that Pennsylvania’s UC fund is $3 billion – and growing – in debt. Time for politicians to stop trying to tell voters how much they “care” and start identifying reforms to unemployment compensation.