President Joe Biden was ripped on social media after he suggested in an address Monday that Americans getting federal unemployment benefits could be cut off from them if they refused to take a job.
“We’re going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” Biden said on Monday in remarks from the East Room at the White House.
Biden also addressed the ransomware attack that has taken Colonial Pipeline’s vital fuel artery offline for days, leading to shortages along the East Coast, as well as April’s disappointing job figures, which he appeared to dismiss.
But it was his comments about requiring Americans to get jobs that triggered the most virulent responses on social media.
Warning: Strong language
“F**k you,” one user wrote in response.
Fuck you https://t.co/bYg1htWYt3
— Skrrt Vonnegut (@Skrrt__Vonnegut) May 10, 2021
“He coulda just said nothing and let the workers hold out until they start making a living wage. What a f**king a**hole,” wrote another.
He coulda just said nothing and let the workers hold out until they start making a living wage. What a fucking asshole https://t.co/dTlN9J22TD
— 🔪🔪bЯyan🔪🔪 (proud knife owner) (@murderxbryan) May 10, 2021
“Thanks Joe, I want a job that can’t support me to replace the benefits that kinda made s**t tolerable,” said another user, as others joined in as well.
"We’re going to make it clear anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits." -Biden
Thanks Joe, I want a job that can't support me to replace the benefits that kinda made shit tolerable.
— Mousepounder🧦SOCKS FOR PHLOX🧦 Check pinned tweet (@mousepounder) May 10, 2021
“Would love to hear him define what a ‘suitable’ job is,” one Twitter user noted.
“I’m going to make it clear that everyone who voted for this guy can eat my whole a**,” another angry user tweeted.
“MAN I wana commit arson sometimes…” another wrote.
Biden went on to say, however, that his administration is not seeing any evidence that an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits added onto state payments is keeping Americans out of the workforce — a contrasting statement that also drew mocking condemnation online.
“Rapid-fire shot/chaser. This unemployment ‘paying people to stay home notion is just a right wing talking point, but … we have a new policy to address it anyway,” GOP operative Matt Whitlock pointed out in a tweet containing screen grabs of Biden’s statements.
This unemployment "paying people to stay home" notion is just a right wing talking point, but … we have a new policy to address it anyway. pic.twitter.com/QDWphvItNW
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) May 10, 2021
“How exactly will you do that when you’re publicly denying any link between people receiving generous unemployment benefits and the inability for employers to fill open positions?” wrote one user.
How exactly will you do that when you're publicly denying any link between people receiving generous unemployment benefits and the inability for employers to fill open positions?
— AdamInHTownTX (Freedom Loving Neanderthal) (@AdamInHTownTX) May 10, 2021
“[If] there’s no evidence that people are being paid to stay home then why make the change?” another user noted.
I’d there’s no evidence that people are being paid to stay home then why make the change?
— Jimothy B (@TheRealJimothyB) May 10, 2021
I thought he said the extended benefits weren’t the problem?
— Nick (@nickelodeonSTL) May 10, 2021
Biden’s controversial comments follow a hugely disappointing April jobs report. The Labor Department noted last week that the U.S. economy only added 266,000 jobs last month after most economists had projected robust growth, with some forecasting a gain of up to 1 million.
Many critics blamed the job creation deficit on the additional federal unemployment stipend, saying that in many parts of the country Americans are making more by staying at home.
“We should be clear about the policy failure at work here: There are 7,400,000 jobs open in the US — but fewer than 300,000 people found new work last month,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who sits on the Senate Budget and Finance committees, noted in a statement following the Labor Department report.
“Why? This tragedy is what happens when Washington know-it-all’s decide to pretend they’re generous by paying more for unemployment than for work,” he added.
“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief policy officer Neil Bradley added.