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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm not saying Republicans want people starving to death in the streets

by folkbum

But it does seem to me that their strategy of cutting off money for people who can't find work to feed themselves or their families might just lead to that consequence before too long.

My brother was out of work from late 2008 until last month, and not because he is a lazy moocher--he'd just had his first child when he was downsized from what was a difficult but rewarding blue-collar job--but because there just wasn't any work available for him to do. A few interviews, sure, but no one was hiring. My parents can't take care of him (my dad isn't working now since his illness and my mom has to be there to take care of him); nor can his wife's family, facing its own medical crisis; and here at chez folkbum, we're just getting back to stability after half of us were also unemployed last year (indeed, there was a worrisome period of about six months last year when I was the only working member of my immediate family). If he hadn't been offered the (lower-paying-drive-three-hours-a-day-that-is-if-they-need-him-that-day) job he was a few weeks ago, the Republicans' actions here would have almost cut him off completely.

Every serious economist recognizes the stimulative value of unemployment insurance: You give people money to spend who have none, they spend it. They're not tucking their UI benefits in a mattress or growing their stock portfolios--they're out there buying food, renting vacant housing space, and using the services of our service economy.

It's possible the Republicans are stupid and don't know this. It's possible they're heartless bastards who know this and figure a worse-off economy is better for their chances in November. I'm inclined to the latter, personally, but I could be convinced of the former if you have a good argument to make.

In the meantime, get ready for the coming disaster.

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