WASHINGTON, DCResponding to the nation's worst unemployment rate since the Hoover Administration, President Bush addressed the nation's 8.2 million unemployed workers in a televised speech Monday.
"The economy has been on the rebound for months, but 5.6 percent of you are still out of work," Bush said. "Come on, people: Get a job! Don't just sit there hoping that you'll win the lottery. Turn off that boob tube, get off that couch, and start pounding the pavement."
When the number of people taking part-time jobs because they can't get full-time work is factored in, the unemployment figure approaches 15.1 million, a number Bush called "unacceptable."
"My fellow Americans, don't come crying to me," Bush said. "I've got a job. I go to work every day, whether I feel like it or not. I don't take handouts, and I don't give them. That's a belief my daddy taught me. Now, let's get this show on the road!"
The unemployment rate remains high, in spite of the many tax-cut initiatives the Bush Administration has introduced over the past several years.
"The government can only do so much," Bush said. "How hard can it possibly be to find a job? A friend of mine lost his job when his company went belly-up. Did he bitch and moan about it? Absolutely not. He picked up the phone and started making cold calls, he landed back on his feet, and now he's the chief financial officer of a major petrochemical concern."
According to the president, the nation's unemployed need to make looking for work a full-time job.
"How many applications have you filled out today?" Bush said. "You should spend eight hours a day looking through the want ads, mailing résumés, and pounding the pavement. You won't find a job moping around the house and feeling sorry for yourself. If you're down-and-out, you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Life's hard, my friends. Get used to it."
Bush addressed a complaint often made by unemployed workers: They are unable to find jobs commensurate to their skill set due to lulls in the technical and manufacturing sectors and the outsourcing of jobs to other countries.
"If you wanted work as bad as you say you do, you'd take what you could find," Bush said. "You gotta work your way up, instead of waiting around for your dream job to fall into your lap. Walk before you run. Climb your way up the ladder."
Continued Bush: "I heard McDonald's is hiring. What's wrong with that? Does your fancy degree say you can't work at a Mickey D's? You may not be doing exactly what you want, but at least you'll have the pride of knowing that you're earning your living."
A reporter asked for comment on a statistic which shows that only 21,000 new jobs were created in February, in spite of the Bush administration's promise to create 320,000.
"I've got a statistic for you," Bush said. "You've got to look out for No. 1. Take charge. I've got a job plan for the nation. It's called 'Get off your duff.'"
Bush said the country is experiencing its longest average-unemployment duration in 20 years, and he wants to see it end immediately.
"If you get an interview, walk in there like you're the only person for the job," Bush said. "Show them you're willing to work. Show up early and bring a broom. Sweep up the place while you're waiting for the interview to start. That'll let them know you're a go-getter."
The president concluded his speech by encouraging the jobless to start their search immediately.
"What are you doing listening to this speech when you should be out there looking for work?" Bush asked. "Get a move on! Even my brother has a job. He's no one special, and he's the governor of Florida! If he can do that, you should be able to line up something at your local Wal-Mart."
With that statement, Bush left Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to present some of the finer points of his administration's new position.
"Get a haircut," Chao said. "Clean yourself up a little and put on a nice shirt, or even a suit. Maybe employers would take you more seriously if you didn't look like you just rolled out of bed. The way you look now, I wouldn't hire you to throw me a rope if I was falling off a cliff."