Just what the unemployed need

Your tax dollars at work:

State labor officials asked their inspector general Monday to investigate why a Central Florida agency wants to spend public money to furnish the unemployed with capes.

Dubbed the "Cape-A-Bility Challenge," a $73,000 public-relations campaign by Workforce Central Florida features a cartoon character named "Dr. Evil Unemployment" and includes handing out about 6,000 red superhero capes to jobless Central Floridians.

The campaign, revealed Saturday in a report in the Orlando Sentinel, was met with derision by many unemployed who questioned spending more than $14,200 on capes and $2,300 on foam cutouts of "Dr. Evil Unemployment." They said the campaign's tone risked minimizing the severity of the region's labor problems.

Monday, the executive director of Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, echoed those criticisms.

"I have serious concerns with the content and approach" of the project, Cynthia Lorenzo wrote to Workforce Central Florida Executive Director Gary J. Earl. "With more than one million Floridians currently out of work, spending any amount of money on collateral materials such as the red capes included in your campaign appears to be insensitive and wasteful."

In addition to "insensitive and wasteful," how about "loony tunes" as well?

OK, so he's trying to buck up the spirits of people who have been out of work a long time. But he's being far too cutesy and wasting dollars that could be spent getting these people jobs. There is precedent for putting on workshops suggesting ways that the unemployed can deal with depression and other emotional problems that come with being unemployed.

But the capes don't cut it.

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