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Pick And Choose The Right Battles

Yesterday, the Senate again voted down passage of HR-4213, otherwise known as the wonky named "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act," which contains, among other things, the extension of unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of Americans who, because of a situation beyond their control, have lost their jobs.

The most important component of this bill, and the only one which should be in it, is the emergency unemployment extension, which would last until November 30th of this year.

To people who have found themselves unemployed during this Obama recession, that really is the only portion of this bill that matters to them.

As the Democrats would have you believe, it is the Republicans alone who are heartlessly blocking passage of this much needed emergency spending.

Unfortunately, this is partly true, as no Republican has voted in favor of the extension.

What Democrats conveniently leave out is, 12 members of their own party have voted against this bill, as well.

Had all 12 voted for it, only one Republican or Independent vote would be needed to pass the bill.

The main argument, at least told by the Senators voting against passage, is that they do not want to add to an already freakishly large deficit.

Normally, I would say that is an unusually welcome and responsible act for a bunch of politicians used to blowing wads of cash which we do not have.

However, at the risk of being excoriated in the comments section, I have to disagree on this one.

The money to fund these extensions could very easily be taken from the almost $400 billion in funds still unused from the failed Stimulus bill. This money would actually go to help people instead of being used as a giant slush fund.

And if not that, there are thousands of other political pet projects which could, and should, be eliminated, freeing up money for something that is actually needed.

I am a fiscal Conservative.

Broadly speaking, I am for smaller government, low taxes, and low, controlled spending.

Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006, and Obama took the reigns of the Presidency in 2009, these basic principles have been non-existent.

We have 9.7% unemployment, increased taxes on families making over $250,000 a year, 2 million federal government jobs dominated by greedy and corrupt unions, a $13 trillion national debt, and a budget deficit of $1.35 trillion dollars.

The number of employable Americans who are without jobs is roughly 15 million. A staggering number.

For some perspective, in 2006, the national average percentage of unemployed Americans was 4.6%, or 6,900,000 prospective workers.

That's 8,100,000 less than today.

Where unemployment is concerned, I usually find myself in the minority opinion within Conservative thinking.

While there is no doubt that included within the current 15,000,000 unemployed Americans, some take advantage of it, viewing it as "fun-employment" or a temporary ride on the gravy train, the other Americans included in the 8,100,000 rise since 2006 actually had been gainfully employed. They didn't just wake up and decide not to work anymore.

One needs to actually lose their job to be eligible for unemployment.

And during a recession like the one the Democrats and Obama have created, these jobs have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle of a rotten economy, through no fault of the pink-slipped worker.

The majority of these people probably thought this would never happen to them. They've been employed for years, paying taxes, contributing to the economy, only to find that one day, due to incompetence and gross mis-management courtesy of the prime movers of a sprawling U.S. government, their jobs were gone.

While their jobs vanished, their bills and obligations did not.

And in an economy like this, employment comparable to what they had based their entire fiscal lives around, just doesn't exist.

I often hear people say that unemployment is a "free ride."

I would say to them, "You try it." I very much doubt they would be envious of those who have found themselves with no other financial outlet, especially considering it doesn't pay as much when compared to their lost employment.

The unemployment funds that people receive aren't exactly going toward lobster tails and fillet mignon. They are most likely helping to pay a mortgage, or other financial obligations that they believed they would be able to pay as productive members of the American workforce.

Many people who are angry with those on unemployment seem to think it is akin to welfare.

While some people, sometimes, do indeed need a bit of help in the form of welfare, unemployment it is not.

Those on welfare, especially those who have been on it for years and are both mentally and physically able to work, are truly abusing the system. People who, during good times or bad, just plain refuse to take financial responsibility for themselves, and most disturbingly, have more children to get more money from the government, are deserving of public scorn.

It's disgusting. And it just isn't right.

That said, all too often people who legitimately need the help of unemployment get unfairly lumped in with those on welfare, and are branded as free-loaders, sucking the system dry.

With unemployment, things just aren't that black and white.

It is very easy to look upon someone who has been on unemployment for 99 weeks and say "That's enough! Get a job!"

But, during those 99 weeks, if no new jobs have been "created," or the few that have been require certain experience to get hired, it's not that simple.

Eventually, it won't be such a large problem. (Bye, bye Democrats!)

Until then, let's not be so quick to batter a segment of honest people who have worked their entire lives only to have become financially and emotionally devastated.

Pass the extension.

It is the right thing to do.


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Comments (70)

Shawn: THey need to cut ou... (Below threshold)
epador:

Shawn: THey need to cut out the Pork Fat and just pass the lean version. That might get some votes!

"The money to fund these ex... (Below threshold)
alanstorm:

"The money to fund these extensions could very easily be taken from the almost $400 billion in funds still unused from the failed Stimulus bill. This money would actually go to help people instead of being used as a giant slush fund."

You might have a point - IF they were to take funds from there. Do you have any reason to believe that that's what would happen?

There are (at least) two other things to consider, as well. One, the unspent "stimulus" funds are better left unspent, as they will simply add more to the deficit if spent. Two, the bill does not cover unemployment benefits exclusively. It also contains a bundle of tax increases, which aren't going to help anyone except the Feds.

Let them split off the unemployment issue from the rest, and we'll see.

If DC wants to do something to help the economy, the least they could do would be...nothing. Just sit down and shut up, and do nothing. That would be a fine start. Better would be to stop spending and start repealing.

Ditto - pass an extension b... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Ditto - pass an extension bill only. It can be just 1 page long. Then, go gridlock the Hill.

If it were the "temporary u... (Below threshold)
mpw280:

If it were the "temporary unemployment benefits extension act" and kept its wording strictly to that it probably would have passed, even easier if they had it funded like you mention. I am guessing there is a lot of other shit tacked on that makes the bill a bloated pos that stuck in the craws of some of the democrats that will be facing voters and still have a chance of pulling their tail out of the furnace before election time. Do the congressmen even know what is in the bill? Probably not. mpw

<a href="http://www.change.... (Below threshold)
bill:
99 bottles of cheer on the ... (Below threshold)
914:

99 bottles of cheer on the wall, 99 bottles of cheer.

Husseins only got 4 more months to add to his record breaking jobz creation extravaganza.

My sister lost her job well... (Below threshold)

My sister lost her job well over a year ago and has had no luck finding other employment despite over 25 years experience as a legal secretary. She is currently working a long term temporary job for the Census Bureau which is coming to an end in about 4 weeks. She is able bodied to be sure, she wants to work. There isn't anything out there. Which is why I am clinging to a job I like in a location I hate since I have to commute 51 miles each morning and night to get to the job! Not enjoyable and it's playing merry hell with my health!

epador,I am in com... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

epador,

I am in complete agreement with you.

There is no shortage of pork that cannot be cut to pay for this kind of assistance which would actually make a positive difference in the lives of Americans who have experienced such a traumatic event.

I know people who have lost their jobs and have been on unemployment for quite some time.

They most certainly are not enjoying the experience.

They have expressed a feeling that it is almost demoralizing that they are on it, but, they really do not have a choice.

Lambasting them to "go out and get a job at McDonald's" just isn't a viable option.

They have a mortgage, bills, families they need to worry about.

Taking a job making $7.65 an hour won't even put a dent in their financial obligations.

And they can't just go out and get 3 part-time jobs since they have kids, and no one to watch them.

Looming in the background of this is the fact that, in addition to bringing in less money now then when they were working, they need to pay ridiculous premiums for COBRA (Thanks Ted Kennedy!).

These are good, responsible people who have had their lives turned upside down, at least in the short term.

For career politicians in congress to hold these people financially hostage for their own selfish political benefit is just plain wrong.

-Shawn

Seems most of the Republica... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Seems most of the Republican Senators are not even answering their phones this morning. I have always voted Republican I have just changed to Independent.

The Republicans should be congratulated for trying to balance spending by throwing the unemployed under the bus.

I sure hope they all have a wonderful July break. I know I will be adding more stuff to Craig's list to try to make ends meet.

Happy fourth of July everyone.

Fuck no, I won't sign. And... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Fuck no, I won't sign. And fuck you, Bill - you greedy bastard.

We are out of money. We are so broke we can't even pay attention, and on schedule to have trillion dollar deficits for the next decade. The ONLY place money for the government comes from is through taxation, and the levels of taxation are already high enough to have caused a massive loss of jobs and nonexistant economic growth.

What the fuck more do you want? Sprinkles on top of the bowl of shit we've already got?

Sorry - but 99 weeks of unemployment is enough!

I've been on unemployment b... (Below threshold)
James H:

I've been on unemployment before, too. It's not a fun experience. But (and keep in mind I'm to the left of nearly everybody here) is continually extending unemployment benefits the best use of government money? Despite the moral arguments in favor of extending the benefits, I'm not sure it's the best use of dollars from an economic perspective ... or from a psychological perspective, quite frankly.

I would much prefer that federal stimulus-type dollars be channeled into something that would conceivably produce something of long-term economic value. Infrastructure investment, for example. Some modern equivalent of the interstate system. I honestly have no idea what the best channel would be, but I would think they would be better for the economy than what amounts to subsistence payments for the unemployed.

Second, I wish there were some way to take these unemployed and put them into temporary government-sponsored jobs. I've been on unemployment before (as I said), and it's truly disheartening to send out resumes every day, only to get continual rejections. You can't help seeing those rejections as a judgment of your worth. And the feeling that you're not worth much more than the government payment you receive is similarly crushing. You just feel like a burden to friends, family, and society at large. And as long as you're idle, always, always, always, your thoughts return to that psychological fact. Perhaps if a person worked in exchange for the unemployment compensation, preferably in a position that suits his skills, some of that feeling would subside.

"Pass the extension.... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Pass the extension.
It is the right thing to do."

But we're not talking about 'just an extension' are we. Let the Democrats hang.

James H,"I wish... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

James H,

"I wish there were some way to take these unemployed and put them into temporary government-sponsored jobs."

"Perhaps if a person worked in exchange for the unemployment compensation, preferably in a position that suits his skills, some of that feeling would subside."

Essentially what you are saying is give them a government job.

The unemployment compensation would be no different than a wage.

I would much prefer growth in the private sector leading to the creation of real jobs then expanding government.

-Shawn

How many of those who are c... (Below threshold)
retired military:

How many of those who are collecting unemployment are able bodied and between the age of say 18 and 45?

Last time I heard the military was hiring.

Oh and you get free health ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Oh and you get free health care if you join.

The senators and congressio... (Below threshold)
914:

The senators and congressional fools should all be required to donate thier salarie's to the unemployed. Then we will see if they are really about serving the people or themselve's.

I took unemployment for fou... (Below threshold)
epador:

I took unemployment for four months once, only because I had to wait for the local State government to process a license before I could work. I had applied as soon as I knew I'd need a local license, with 5 months advance notice for a process that is supposed to take 3 months. It took them 9. I found myself FINALLY a temporary job at the VA (that took a lot of time and paperwork too). While it wasn't fun, it wasn't unpleasant. It seemed utterly STUPID, however, that the State would drag its heels licensing me but cheerily pay me unemployment while their wags sat on my paperwork.

Well, we are talking about Oregon. We've got the same old tired Democratic Hacks, and the best the Republicans do is run a retired sports figure for Governor. Jeez.

While I sympathize with folks that find themselves put out of work for any reason, if you look at the current economic situation, and you KNOW you are going to have trouble finding a new job with your skill set, you need to make some painful decisions regarding your personal finances and lifestyle, and GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE IN A PRODUCTIVE WAY.

Of course, we already know ... (Below threshold)
914:

Of course, we already know the answer to that dont we.


"I sure hope they all have a wonderful July break. I know I will be adding more stuff to Craig's list to try to make ends meet."

Craigs list? What you selling? I shop Ebay all the time.

Shawn -There are t... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Shawn -

There are two Independent Senators, but both sit/caucus with the Democrats: Lieberman (Connecticut) and Sanders (Vermont).

Thus, the Democrat caucus could have passed it on a straight-caucus line.

And could not.

I've been unemployed 8 week... (Below threshold)
John S:

I've been unemployed 8 weeks and I'm averaging an interview every two weeks. The latest interview looks like a good possibility... if hired it would be a 15 percent cut in pay. But that's an unexpected success. My last job change in 2006 was a 40 percent cut in pay.

The good news is the Democrats raised the minimum wage three times so I don't have much lower to go. The bad news is the dumb shits passed also Obamacare, so none of my future minimum wage employers will give me more than 29 hours a week.

Yeh, Congress should keep passing unemployment benefit extensions. Nine more of them and I'll be old enough for Social Security.

I collected for 6 months on... (Below threshold)
914:

I collected for 6 months once and while I did I felt embarrased and humiliated to cash the check.

I feel for these people because sometimes it is out of your hands when someone screws you. I had to go to court to get it and as it happens, I had my former employer on a phone message incriminating herself. The judge was not amused and the ..... got what was coming to her but I would still rather have been doing something for the money.

"I collected for 6 mo... (Below threshold)
John S:

"I collected for 6 months once and while I did I felt embarrased and humiliated to cash the check."

Screw that. I've easily paid a half-million in taxes over a long career. Since it was their idiot policies that helped send my last job to India, the government can afford to give me back $8,000 of my money as an unemployment benefit. It's not like I'll be unemployed for the entire 27 weeks. If I get bored enough I'll start another business, assuming we can fire enough Democrats so it's again possible to start a business.

Last time I looked there we... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

Last time I looked there were jobs in the help wanted section. It may not be what they want, but it's a job.

They ought to start decrementing it, say 5% per week after 13 weeks. That would give people an incentive to go back to work so they can start paying taxes again...

And btw, if we got rid of the illegals, folks could work "doing the jobs Americans won't"...

"the government can affo... (Below threshold)
914:

"the government can afford to give me back $8,000 of my money as an unemployment benefit."

Sorry to offend you. I just dont see being unemployed as beneficial.

Last time I looked... (Below threshold)
James H:
Last time I looked there were jobs in the help wanted section. It may not be what they want, but it's a job.

But none of those people are obligated to hire you. I've got a friend with an MBA. She's trying for MBA-level jobs, but those are few and far between in her area. When she tries for one of those jobs in the classifieds outside her field, the employer sees her MBA and other qualifications and won't hire her, correctly assessing that she will leave as soon as another job presents itself.

JLawson,Bill's pet... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

JLawson,

Bill's petition aside (whatever the hell it is), I don't think anyone is attempting to put "sprinkles on a bowl of shit."

You say "Sorry - but 99 weeks of unemployment is enough!"

No disrespect, but, that is a purely emotional, blanket statement for something which those people need to operate within realistic parameters.

The majority of these people have been paying into this system for their entire working lives. They get terminated from their employment, yet they should not be able to avail themselves of the one government program they have most likely EVER had to use in their lives?

The reality is, unemployment offers them the best opportunity for short-term financial security. Should they be expected to negate that fact and go out and do something that is sure to financially break them?

Would you rather see them not only lose their jobs, but their homes as well? Homes in which, because of their legitimate hard work over the years, they have built up equity?

This is not a position any responsible, self-respecting person wants to be in, whether for 2 weeks or 99.

But it happens.

I could not imagine how helpless I would feel, especially under this administration, if I lost my job.

It is most likely due to policies of this administration that I'd no longer be employed, yet after 99 weeks something will magically appear which will be a result of the same people who got me into this mess in the first place?

The amount of waste in government is staggering.

To condemn those who have lost their jobs and are now on unemployment, as if they are the boogie-men of the nation's economic woes, when they are casualties of it, just doesn't make sense.

-Shawn

Just wanted to remind you a... (Below threshold)

Just wanted to remind you all, as it somehow requires reminding, that Bush caused this recession and not Obama. So this isn't an "Obama recession", and it was not "Created by Democrats and Obama". It was created by Bush and the GOP senate and congress that ran this country into the ground for 6 years straight.

Many here really want to think otherwise, and understandably so - but that's the facts.

Also, according to the current consensus of economic theory (which also happens to make sense), the last thing a government should do in a recession is cut spending - because government spending is the only thing that's keeping the economy stable.

I agree that there are no excuses for Democrats who voted against unemployment extension, however. I can only hope that those Democrats get voted out.

"Just wanted to remind y... (Below threshold)
914:

"Just wanted to remind you all, as it somehow requires reminding, that Bush caused this recession and not Obama."


Your so full of shit you could single handedly plug that hole. For 6 years unemployment was at 4.3 to 4.7% under Boooosh. How do you explain Husseins 14.9997685% failure rate?

You libs and your tiresome ... (Below threshold)
914:

You libs and your tiresome "its bussshhhes fault", God, drop it already. Get a life. Get over it. He won in 2000 alright.

"because government spending is the only thing that's keeping the economy stable."

By government you mean "taxpayer" , right? Government cannot lead or spend without the taxpayers voluntary effort.


Jim X:Actually, I'... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jim X:

Actually, I'd lay the recession at the feet of Alan Greenspan, but that's largely irrelevant now. It seems to me that thus far, President Obama isn't helping that much.

jim x,While the ec... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

jim x,

While the economic slide may have started in the last few months of Bush's tenure, your democrats in congress were in charge of the purse strings for 3 years prior, and they have been ever since.

Obama has been in office for over a year and a half.

He has proven alot of damage can be done in a year and a half.

"Also, according to the current consensus of economic theory (which also happens to make sense), the last thing a government should do in a recession is cut spending - because government spending is the only thing that's keeping the economy stable."

Wrong.

During this recession, your democrats have been spending money that does not exist.

Go back up to the article and re-read the economic facts that I posted.

Doesn't exactly spell "stable economy."

Now. I am going to count backwards from 3. When I snap my finger, you are going to come back to reality.

Ready?

"Three, two, o-.."

Ah, the hell with it.

@14, retired military:... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

@14, retired military:

Just out of curiosity, I thought the cut off age for acceptance into the military was 35yrs?

-Shawn

914, you're so full of shit... (Below threshold)

914, you're so full of shit that you think saying other people are full of shit automatically proves it.

One of the factors that has... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

One of the factors that has been overlooked is the cost to the employer for unemployment. A friend of mine owns a small business and normally has 25-30 employees. There are usually 5 entry level positions in that count and the rest are established professionals. A fully manned office is dependent upon his contracts.

Unemployment insurance is simply an insurance policy and, much like social security, is a cooperative effort between the employer and the state. Based upon the 26 week potential payout, the unemployment insurance rates had been stable for some years.

Prior to the current recession, his unempolyment costs averaged $1200 per employee per year. So, with his office fully manned, he is out about $36,000 per year.

Recently he received his bill for the coming year. It works out to an average of $9500 per employee per year that he is going to have to pay. That racks up to $285,000 per year.

Why the difference? First is the new dynamic of 99+ weeks of coverage per employee. But also there are the losses incurred by the states, who have had to pony up the difference so far, from having an insufficient reserve to account for all of those 99+ weeks that needed to be covered. The federal monies being doled out to the states on all of these extensions are only a fraction of what is actually due and the states have to make up the difference.

What are the downsides? Well, the increased deficit as has already been discussed but there is a hidden one. My friend is going to have to cut 3-5 positions in order to make up the difference in unemployment rates. He also has to think twice and even three times before he hires again because of the increased overhead cost per employee he is faced with. And all of this does not even include the future increased health insurance costs.

He seriously doubts his company can viably continue beyond the current set of contracts he has on the books. How does this relate on a national basis - I shudder to think.

We need to e-mail our senat... (Below threshold)
Jaye:

We need to e-mail our senators and tell them to put the unemployment extender in a stand alone bill. Also, e-mail President Obama and tell him we need action not words. He could always do an Executive Order or direct Reid put this in a stand alone bill. Voice that we need real action that will work - them walking way from this or playing the blame game is not okay or acceptable.

I read all the comments and... (Below threshold)

I read all the comments and can only say that the solution is in private job creation. We can harp and moan, but with the heavy burden of "everyone" being insured, I see little hope of many new private businesses forming. As to what people should do? I don't know in your community but in mine, there is an influx in folks heading to the church food pantry's. So if you have a job donate some non perishable foods to your community church, as then it will assist those in your community.

When Obama first became president, the local food pantry would not take donations of eggs from the local farmers- now they will, so even if you have farm produce etc, there are folks who could use it.

As to recovery from this spiral? ONLY if we cease spending ON EVERYTHING, I love the governor from NJ...he should be our example-

Shawn, there's few things w... (Below threshold)

Shawn, there's few things wrong with your response.

First, it's ironic that you're counting in your post, because ahead of that you're counting wrong. Even if you're counting "the last few months of Bush's presidency", that means the congress was Democratic for 1.5 years, not 3.

Second, there is absolutely no evidence that spending caused or had anything to do with this recession. So if you want to blame things on Democrats, that's your privilege - but you should at least have something specific to blame on them. And specifically their "spending" causing this, if that's going to be your argument.

Third, Obama's policies have been by most nonpartisan economist accounts *helping the US out of the recession*.

Fourth, as for "spending money that does not exist", i.e. debt - sometimes to get out of a jam you have to put things on the credit card. Bush blew our surplus at Vegas with an unneeded tax cut, a Pharma giveaway with Medicare (that Bush lied about, by the way) and a completely unnecessary war in Iraq - but what specifically tanked our economy was Bush's presiding over a weak SEC which regulated and enforced almost nothing. Which allowed credit default swaps, derivatives trading, etc. etc. Madoff is a piker compared to what the rest of Wall Street got away with.

Now we need to dig our way out of that resulting crash. It's a shame we have to do that, but it's better than the crash.

Finally, I read the facts you posted - and I responded here with the ones you got wrong.

Now I'm going to count from 5, and at 1 you will wake up from your Blame-Obama-for-not-fixing-the-worst-crash-in-60-years-in-2-years" dreamworld.

Let's see if it worked. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -

"914, you're so full of ... (Below threshold)
914:

"914, you're so full of shit that you think saying other people are full of shit automatically proves it."


Disprove it than? Tell Me how Barry recoups the 12 million jobs he lost while uniting the country? Matter of fact, point out one beneficial accomplishment Alinsky has provided since being immaculately elected? Just one. And no, putting the Carter malaise to shame doesn't count.

James H, I think that's a v... (Below threshold)

James H, I think that's a very reasonable view. I also think that if Greenspan had more of a Keynesian view than a Milton Friedman one, we would have avoided a lot of awful messes.

ShawnDont know wha... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Shawn

Dont know what it is currently to be honest but I think you can enlist in NG and Reserves older than that.

Matter of fact

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/enlage.htm

Active Duty None-Prior Service

Army - 42 (must ship to basic training prior to 42nd birthday)
Air Force - 27
Navy - 34
Marines - 28
Coast Guard - Age 27. Note: up to age 32 for those selected to attend A-school directly upon enlistment (this is mostly for prior service).
Reserve Non-Prior Service

Army Reserves - 42 (must ship to basic training prior to 42nd birthday)
Army National Guard - 35 (changed from 42 in 2009)
Air Force Reserve - 34
Air National Guard - 40 (Changed from 34 in Aug 2009)
Naval Reserves - 39
Marine Corps Reserve - 29
Coast Guard Reserves - Age 39


The above are for nonprior service. Didnt bother to look for prior service age requirements.

Also if you have specialized skills than there are age waivers that are sometimes approved.

And if you are single think about it.

Free meals, free board, free health care.

If you are married you get extra money for housing and food and free health care for your family.

You libs and your tireso... (Below threshold)

You libs and your tiresome "its bussshhhes fault", God, drop it already. Get a life. Get over it. He won in 2000 alright.

Sorry, but since as you point out Bush won in 2000, I'm going to continue to hold him responsible for things that he did.

Sorry to be so "conservative" about it. You know, caring about accountability and personal responsibility.

By government you mean "taxpayer" , right? Government cannot lead or spend without the taxpayers voluntary effort.

And?

Besides all the moral reasons why it is right and good to help out hard-working people in a time of trouble, the economic reasons why are clear and proven:

1. The economy needs consumer spending to keep going
2. When consumers don't have any money, the economy slows
3. When the economy slows enough, more consumers are fired from their jobs, which means they have less money - which creates a downward spiral
4. Government money is still money

Therefore: If an economy is about to go into a downward spiral, a government can and should halt this by providing consumers who have worked with the money they need until the economy can recover.

Once the economy recovers, this spending won't be necessary and can be phased out.

Disprove it than?</p... (Below threshold)

Disprove it than?

OK.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-01-25-usa-today-economic-survey-obama-stimulus_N.htm

President Obama's stimulus package saved jobs -- but the government still needs to do more to breathe life into the economy, according to USA TODAY's quarterly survey of 50 economists.

Unemployment would have hit 10.8% -- higher than December's 10% rate -- without Obama's $787 billion stimulus program, according to the economists' median estimate. The difference would translate into another 1.2 million lost jobs.

But almost two-thirds of the economists said the government should do more to spur job growth. Suggestions included suspending payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, increasing spending on infrastructure, enacting a flat tax on income and extending jobless benefits.

Note that among the complaints they have against Obama is that he should spend **more** on infrastructure, and extend jobless benefits. These and their other suggestions of cutting taxes would all **add to** the deficit - which also indicates, once again, that the problem with the economy is not the debt and reducing the debt won't fix it.

"Sorry, but since as you... (Below threshold)
914:

"Sorry, but since as you point out Bush won in 2000, I'm going to continue to hold him responsible for things that he did."

How are you going to hold him accountable for the lowest unemployment evah and at the same time exscuse Berry for gettin into the Guiness book of records for job stagnatory growth?

Somehow seems like an absurd diametric dilemna, but by all means have at it.

RE# 34 SShiel. Right on th... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

RE# 34 SShiel. Right on the money. My company is in the social services field and right now we need to hire more people due to the tremendous increase in demand for our services. Unfortunately our board of directors will not let us hire anyone due to 2 things-- fears of Obamacare costs and the outrageous increases in unemployment insurance.

That is a simply fact that all of you calling for the extension to be passed are ignoring-- extennding the unemployment coverage is causing more unemployment.

Of course that's the way it is with most government programs. They try and fix a problem that is no business of the government and the fix makes the problem worse so the governmnet fixes the fix which makes the problem worse so the governmnet fixes the fix which makes the problem worse and on and on it goes.

RE# 36 Jennifer: "So if you have a job donate some non perishable foods to your community church..."

Actually it's way, way better to donate money than to donate food-- unless it's just some food you have around that you're probably never going to use. If you buy food at a store to donate to your local pantry your essentially wasting 90% of your money. Say you spent $10 at the store. You'd get about 1/2 bag of groceries for the pantry-- if you gave that same $10 to the pantry they could leverage it, through a Feeding America (our nation's food bank network) member food bank, into at least $100 worth of food (5-10 bags) and in many cases much more than that.

Give money not food.

Not meaning to be argumenta... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

Not meaning to be argumentative but regarding your comment:

"Obama's policies have been by most nonpartisan economist accounts *helping the US out of the recession*."

Would you mind providing some citations to back that up. My brother is an economist and he is also a Democrat - of the yellow dog variety. His opinion is extremely biased - towards Obama - but even he says that comment is debatable at best.

When I asked my brother to explain or even to provide some backup he just points to Japan and what is referred to as their "Lost Decade." The Japanese have been mired in a 10 year long recession that began long before the current ogre raised its ugly head and they have tried to buy their way out and it has not worked. That is one of the reasons Germany, France, and other G-20 nations are moving away from those kinds of policies.

The GOP offered an alternat... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

The GOP offered an alternative Extension bill. They wanted to use unspent Stimulus funds to fund it, the Dems voted it down.

Its the Dems that are holding the unemployed hostage not the GOP.

Shawn, RM beat me to it in ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Shawn, RM beat me to it in 40. If you have skills they need, they'll take you older. I got in USAF Reserves (immediately called to AD) at 43.5 but had to sign a paper saying I knew I'd never be eligible for retirement. They weren't happy when I ejected after 8 years. Its nice, however, to only visit hot sandy places on vacation and not have to worry about being shot at so much. I was getting so old and beat up they wouldn't be letting me fly much longer, so I got out when the getting was good. Plus I am saving a bundle on haircuts (well, that's a lie because I used to buzz my head myself). Now the 50% cut in pay sucked, but there were plenty of days I would have paid them to let me keep doing my job.

"But almost two-t... (Below threshold)
914:


"But almost two-thirds of the economists said the government should do more to spur job growth. Suggestions included suspending payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, increasing spending on infrastructure, enacting a flat tax on income and extending jobless benefits."

Were all economists if we live and work in this country. If they are to be taken seriously and know so much, how come they aren't ruining the country instead of ol' juggy ears?

Shit! I could run spades around this genius in the White House. Let the People shape thier own destiny. Dont try to control thier God given right to be free.

# 43 and # 45 - Read # 42.... (Below threshold)

# 43 and # 45 - Read # 42.

If they are to be taken ... (Below threshold)

If they are to be taken seriously and know so much, how come they aren't ruining the country instead of ol' juggy ears?

Because they didn't run. Instead, we elect people who are leaders and, if they're smart, *listen* to experts and then make their own decisions.

People do shape their own destiny. People also shape that destiny with what they're given - including conditions and order created by pooling their resources and having a central authority for direction - AKA government.

If you want freedom from government, you should check out Somalia. People can do whatever they want there, with no government interference at all.

Sshiel re: lost decade - Kr... (Below threshold)

Sshiel re: lost decade - Krugman and others, who I agree with, have also referenced Japan's lost decade. From what they're saying, Obama is at fault for not pushing through *more* stimulus spending. Krugman at the time was concerned that the spending might not be enough; hopefully he's wrong.

I didn't cite Krugman in this post, because I know he's viewed as a liberal and his opinion would automatically be discounted; but his arguments make sense to me and he did after all win a Nobel prize in a very academic field. Which to me indicates at least that he's on the ball. So I'd be interested in what your brother thought of Krugman's arguments.

My apologies if my initial brief response came off as argumentative as well.

You know, I was going to co... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You know, I was going to comment here but you all know how long my comments run, so I will post my own article later. Have a lot to say, I think, about employment, government, and money-fairies.

Oh, and just so it's clear, Jimx won't be allowed to comment on it. I have decided the comments should be as cogent, mature and reasoned as possible, and we all know Jim's limits in those venues. Anything from Jim (or his IP address) will be nuked on sight.

On the plus side Jim, there's a new "Marmaduke" movie out that should be right at your level of mental comprehension. So the adults will discuss economics and you can go watch the movie, just don't fling poo at the other kids this time, OK?

And re: # 46 - the Democrat... (Below threshold)

And re: # 46 - the Democrats didn't use the stimulus spending because they still wanted to use it to help the economy.

This is easy: federally-fun... (Below threshold)
Morrissimo:

This is easy: federally-funded unemployment payouts are wrong, no matter the length of time.

As is federally-funded Social Security.

As is federally-funded Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP/etc.

As is federally-funded welfare/food stamps/etc.

How can you tell that all of these programs are inappropriate uses of public funds by the federal government? Because they all use public funds to provide privately consumed goods.

Federal public funds should only be used to provide national public goods: national security is the easiest example of a public good properly provided by a federal government.

A contrasting example:

  • Food stamps: used by an individual and consumed by usage, thereby unavailable for any other individual to use. Ergo, should not be supported by public funds.

  • Interstate system: used by individuals but NOT consumed by usage, thereby continually available to subsequent use by other individuals. Ergo, may be supported by public funds.

It's no more morally right for the feds to steal from me to help you pay your mortgage than it is for your brother-in-law to steal from me to help you pay your mortgage. The only difference is the former is legal.

But "legal" does not always mean "morally right"; however, as we (notionally) live in a rule-of-law society, the present situation means that if you agree with my premise herein, then you also believe that you are under a moral imperative to work to change the very laws that permit and empower such state-sanctioned thievery and redistribution.

Shorter version: elections have consequences.

And no, Rs and Ds (or even Is) after names don't mean squat; the party system is yet another flavor of all the various bread-and-circuses meant to keep us entertained and/or distracted ...and thus from actually exerting our power.

Tough pill to swallow, ain't it? Too bad: we need the medicine - and have needed it for nearly 80 years now.

Shawn -"Bill's ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Shawn -

"Bill's petition aside (whatever the hell it is), I don't think anyone is attempting to put "sprinkles on a bowl of shit.""

I disagree. The shit is already fed to us in large bowls - stimulus packages that didn't, cash4clunkers that cost $24k for every $4k passed out, politicans who only now are starting to realize that they are broke and the credit card's maxed out and the creditors are calling wanting to know when the next payment's going to be.

Extending unemployment benefits from 99 (!) weeks is putting sprinkles on the shit.

"The majority of these people have been paying into this system for their entire working lives. They get terminated from their employment, yet they should not be able to avail themselves of the one government program they have most likely EVER had to use in their lives?"

I have no problem with them using it. Need it for six months? A year? 99 weeks? Go right ahead - use it, that's what it's there for.

But we've already seen extensions of the program - up TO 99 weeks. That, in my humble opinion, is ENOUGH. And Bill's petition was to call on Congress to extend the unemployment program PAST 99 weeks, immediately, and fund it by raising taxes.

Which would, of course, depress the economy and stifle any sort of movement out of the recession we're in. Which would keep people out of work, which would require another extension, and another... and another.

Putting sprinkles on a bowl of shit doesn't disguise the contents. No matter how 'good' the intentions are, the ramifications of ANY spending proposal (and extending benefits IS a spending proposal, and not one that's likely to see any diminuition in the future - I don't think we'll ever see anything LESS than 99 weeks of unemployment...) have to be examined and weighed against what is actually possible and practical.

We have too much debt and not enough income. Our situation isn't going to change, unless we stop increasing the size of the handouts.

Oh, and just so it... (Below threshold)
Oh, and just so it's clear, Jimx won't be allowed to comment on it. I have decided the comments should be as cogent, mature and reasoned as possible,

Uh-huh. By the way, still waiting for you to actually show what argument of yours **you claim** pre-emptively defeated one of mine, apparently due to the grade school rule of "is so plus infinity no takebacks".

That's here, just so you can't pretend to not know what I'm talking about.

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2010/06/22/breaking-federal-judge-halts-obamas-oil-drilling-ban.php

I'm sorry actually showing you facts and reason you don't like is so upsetting to you. But I can't change a mind that refuses to accept different possibilities. So, have fun in your wading pool. : )

Thanks Jimx, you just demon... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thanks Jimx, you just demonstrated exactly what I meant. Regarding the other thread, aside from 'asked and answered', it's by a different author on a different day on a completely different subject, so no, I think the adults understand not to drag things out of place or context.

You might want to think about whether Shawn will be amused by your attempts to hijack the thread, but that's his decision. I will respect his turf, even you cannot manage to do so.

s.b. "even though you canno... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

s.b. "even though you cannot manage to do so."

DJ Drummond, I don't know w... (Below threshold)

DJ Drummond, I don't know who you actually think you're fooling. But since you are accusing me in this thread, it certainly seems just to respond to your accusation.

So I don't see how your accusing me *isn't* a threadjack, but my response is.

As for the other thread, again I don't know who you think you're fooling. Anyone who cares to can go there and read comments # 27, 28 and 33 by a "DJ Drummond", who also repeatedly refuses my request for specifics.

Personally, I think it's pretty sad that you can dish out the accusations, but refuse to deal with any responses. But that's how it apparently is, so until you actually want to respond I'm fine with this being the end of the matter.

And DJ, I actually wasn't a... (Below threshold)

And DJ, I actually wasn't aware that a Marmaduke movie was out. I don't pay attention to movies like that. Since you do, perhaps you are revealing a bit more about your own mental and emotional maturity level than you might like.

I would assume that paying ... (Below threshold)
Don L:

I would assume that paying people with government checks until the November elections "is" an Obama slush fund -the sole purpose of which is to entrench the Marxists with their pockets full of angry taxpayer stolen money.

WHY-O-WHY do I have the fee... (Below threshold)

WHY-O-WHY do I have the feeling that the DEMs are exploiting this bill for any advantage they might receive.....OH...YEAH!!!! Because they are.

They would love to paint the GOPs as anti-support for the unemployed. BUT, of course, they wish to ignore the DEFICIT!

To DEMs the idea of fiscal restraint is completely FOREIGN!

WE HAVE TO SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!!!! The ONLY answer to the situation.....They have not had any idea of restraint and reduction for 50-60-70 years!

They are DEMs....spend, and enjoy new votes from the benficiaries!

Damn, what a shallow ploy for votes....BUT IT WORKS....mostly because GOPs are too timid to reallly explain this and use it to their advantage.

OUR GOP is still in denial.....

Come on Tea Party....show them the way!

Hey!..don't you people that... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Hey!..don't you people that it's Funemployment not unemployment....jeeeezzzee! Doan worrie be happy!!

ol'

Well Jim, I have a 10-year ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Well Jim, I have a 10-year old daughter, so I hear about their level of interests and amusements. Seemed to be your level.

But it occurs to me, she moved on from your style of argument about three years ago.

Maybe a Teletubbies event is more suitable to your interests.

Or do you just need a nap?

No DJ, all I really would l... (Below threshold)

No DJ, all I really would like would be for you to discuss issues like an adult. And not run scared by, say, accusing me of threadjacking for responding to your previous accusations.

Otherwise, your constant accusing me of being childish has a pretty amusing irony to it.

Especially when you claim your daughter moved on from "my style of argument" - since my style is asking you to back up your claims with specifics.

If that was in fact her style of argument, then she must have gotten tired of outwitting her father.

Shawn:I don't nece... (Below threshold)
James H:

Shawn:

I don't necessarily want to inflate the government payroll, but I'm also uncomfortable with the prospect of granting nearly infinite extensions of unemployment compensation without exacting something of value in return.

It doesn't have to be a GS position. It could just be a short-term project of some sort.

If a construction worker on unemployment is instead placed on a road-building crew, he helps create something that will return value in the form of transportation. If a sculptor is hired to produce artwork for a federal building, he has at least produced something of artistic value.

And giving somebody on unemployment honest work would, I think, be better for that person than having him sit at home wondering why yet another employer won't return his phone calls or give him an interview.

Maybe there's no good way to resolve this, but the issue troubles me all the same.

"Maybe there's no good w... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Maybe there's no good way to resolve this, but the issue troubles me all the same."

It's an ugly and uncomfortable feedback loop. The more money government needs, the less is available for the private sector to grow, and the more people are dependent on government handouts... which has to be funded by higher taxes.

We can't keep on like this. I think we're almost over another tipping point now - much more of this and what economic problems we've had so far are going to seem like a busted piggy bank in comparison.

And this may be nudge over the precipice:

House, Senate leaders finalize details of sweeping financial overhaul
Lawmakers pulled an all-nighter, wrapping up their work at 5:39 a.m. -- more than 20 messy, mind-numbing hours after they began Thursday morning.

"It's a great moment. I'm proud to have been here," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate. "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done."

Both the House and Senate must approve the compromise legislation before it can go to Obama for his signature.

Despite myriad changes in recent days, Democrats appear poised to deliver a final bill that largely reflects the administration's original blueprint unveiled almost precisely a year ago. Although it would not fundamentally alter the shape of Wall Street or break up the nation's largest firms, the legislation would establish broad new oversight of the financial system.
Far be it from me to be picky, but if you don't know how it works, why the hell would you want to shove the thing onto the country in the first place?

And WHY, given the 'success' of Cash4Clunkers, the various attempts at 'stimulus', and the projected massive costs of Obamacare, would anyone want to pass a 2000 page bill governing the entire national economy from a gang that can't even adequately manage SMALL projects?

God, I wish it was still 2006. I know Obama campaigned on 'remaking the country' - but it's starting to look like his goal is Detroit on a nationwide scale.

Oh, by the way, has this gr... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Oh, by the way, has this group of fiscal geniuses running our country passed a BUDGET for next year yet? Or even started on it?

Or do they figure we're doing so well they don't have to work up a budget - that there'll be enough money for everything their shriveled little hearts desire?

Shawn,Based on my ... (Below threshold)
SER:

Shawn,

Based on my understanding of employer paid "unemployment taxes," the more "unemployment compensation" paid, the higher taxes the employer pays (funding has to come from somewhere). Since, as a conservative, I believe in "trade offs" as opposed to "solutions," the trade off appears to be more unemployment compensation, fewer employers want to hire people. If fewer employers want to hire people (or more want to lay people off), you get more unemployment. Not a good trade off. Let me know where I am wrong.

"And giving somebody on une... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"And giving somebody on unemployment honest work would, I think, be better for that person than having him sit at home wondering why yet another employer won't return his phone calls or give him an interview.

Maybe there's no good way to resolve this, but the issue troubles me all the same." James H

James, while society receiving some tangible benefit from all those unemployment insurance payments sounds good, you're suggestion is actually very counter-productive. By actually putting these people to work, we take them away from their real "job" - finding employment. Finding employment requires time and effort and commitment on the job seekers part. Where are they going to find that time, commitment, and the energy for the effort when we make them put in 30-40/week on those "societal projects" you'd like to see?

Better that people go into unemployment knowing what they will get, no questions, no maybes. For instance, the G.I. Bill lets people know, prior to enlistment, what their educational benefits will be upon discharge. If people knew that for every year of employment, since their previous unemployment they were entitled to X weeks of benefits and no more there would not be any doubts on anyone's part.

I think you and I agree that the current arrangement (extension after extension, on no basis other then the Government decides it's a good idea) is not fair to any tax payer, whether employed or unemployed.




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