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Krugman - forget about Bunning

by: teacherken

Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 10:46:41 AM EST

Yeah, I know his column today is labeled Senator Bunning's Universe, but consider this paragraph:  
Here's what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning's position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work."

So Kyl is against the social safety net unemployment compensation provides.  And ignores the fact that one can be seeking work but unless there are jobs incentives and disincentives are irrelevant.  Which is why wee need stimuli and jobs packages.  

Oh wait, he opposes those as well?

As usual with our favorite recent Nobel economist, there is more.  I urge you to read his column.  I will explore a wee bit more, and offer a bit of commentary of my own.

teacherken :: Krugman - forget about Bunning
To continue with where I left off from Krugman:  
In Mr. Kyl's view, then, what we really need to worry about right now - with more than five unemployed workers for every job opening, and long-term unemployment at its highest level since the Great Depression - is whether we're reducing the incentive of the unemployed to find jobs. To me, that's a bizarre point of view - but then, I don't live in Mr. Kyl's universe.

And the difference between the two universes isn't just intellectual, it's also moral.

A moral difference -  which is why this piece - and Krugman's column - could just as easily each have the title of Mr. Kyl's universe

Kyl opposed extension of unemployment benefits and health benefits for the jobless without simultaneous action on estate tax relieve - even though what has been passed relieves taxes on estates of $7 million or less, or in other words, on 99.75% of estates.  Not good enough for Kyl, who insists on the other .25%.

Krugman makes a contrast with Bill Clinton who could say with some honesty "I feel your pain."  Krugman says that it might be more fair "to say that the parties feel the pain of different people."  He notes that when Jeff Merkley pleaded for assistance to those suffering Bunning blurted out an expletive, but that the rest of the Republicans - like Kyl - really do not differ all that much in substance from the fruitcake senator from Kentucky.  

Perhaps I might therefore offer an appropriate line for Kyl and his fellows, one that is is parallel of the famous Clinton line to which Krugman refers?  How about We make your pain worse?   Or perhaps, We don't care about your pain - or you - unless you can give us campaign contributions of tens of thousands of dollars  

Admittedly, I am not the most creative when it comes to creating devastating one-liners, which is why I invite you to offer bumper-sticker length statements in the comments.

Krugman notes that the Obama health care plan does not differ all that much from Republican health care proposals of the past.  Here we might even look at the ideas acceptable to that truly "liberal" figure, Dick Nixon, to see how unradical and socialist the President is in what he is supporting.

Which leads Krugman to note boldly of what the divergence in views between the two parties means:  

The answer, of course, is that bipartisanship is now a foolish dream. How can the parties agree on policy when they have utterly different visions of how the economy works, when one party feels for the unemployed, while the other weeps over affluent victims of the "death tax"?

So, let 'em Cheney themselves if the Republicans do not want to work together on behalf of the American people as a whole. The next time Dems even think of worrying about bipartisanship, they should look at Jim Bunning then forget about  Bunning and the rest of his ilk, and do what is right for the American people - on health care, on job creating, on reforming the financial sector.

And maybe, just maybe, a few of the supposedly more "reasonable" Republicans will buck their leadership, recognizing that on these matters the "ideas" of their leaders are devastating to the nation, and perhaps even to their own electoral prospects.  

And if they don't?  Forget about them, too.  Tell them to go Cheney themselves.  Ignore them. Belittle them.

I don't care.

What I care about is saving our economy, preventing further devastation in the lives of the millions still awaiting relief, who believing in hope gave the reins of power to Obama and the Democrats.  Take up those reins of power and do things positive, lest you condemn us all to a very bleak future.


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True Stimulus
As Krugman pointed out, money spent to extend unemployment benefits is thought to be one of the best best ways to stimulate the economy. That money will immediately be pumped into the economy, creating economic activity and resulting in jobs growth.

It's official now: The Republican Party has lost all ability to claim itself an alternative to progressives. It's simply a party of greed, selfishness, and ignorance of what real people face every day.  

Bumper stickers
and brief ads should show a flattened worker with a huge screw through his middle, with a choice of sentiments, such as "Republican economic policy" "Republican view of American Middle class" or "Thanks to Republicans" and so on. Kentucky might like "Bunning's gift to the middle class"--- this works for health care, too: "Republican health care"  

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