Monday, July 05, 2010

Krugman Comes Out Swinging



I watched Krugman on “Global Public Square” yesterday (video). For whatever he may lack as a TV “presence” (he won the debate anyway), he more than makes it up as a writer. From today’s column:

Punishing the Jobless

”Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.”


I would have added “the cowardly”. Some of you may think these Republican Senators are tough. They aren’t tough. If they were tough -- or even mavericks -- they could make an independent stand. If not on this issue then on any other issue. Pick an issue. Any issue. They can’t. They all fear for their political lives and won’t break “party discipline”. They aren’t “disciplined”. This isn’t the Army. They’re cowards. They’ve left the very people they are supposed to protect unemployed and impoverished.

”By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. ”

I hear this line of argument often, here in the South. My standard retort is that the speaker (or even the head-nodding toady/thinker) should try being poor for a month and see how they like it. I’ve been “poor”. (And saying it always feels like a lie because there was always Mom and Dad to call if things got desperate. So let’s just say I’ve been without money before.) It wasn’t any fun. And $300 a week wasn’t going to make it any more fun even if I took a “vacation”.

I can hear it now...”But you worked your way out of it”. Please. Wake up and smell the coffee.

”But as you may have noticed, right now the economy isn’t booming — again, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work — but they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.”

I know there are people out there that cheat the system. I know some people choose to be infuriated that there are people out there trying to cheat them out of their hard-earned money. That doesn’t change the fact that there are truly needy people -- good people caught up in bad times -- that deserve our help.

You should read this column of Krugman’s. It’s a keeper. Remember that we are -- by far -- the richest nation on Earth. We can afford to take care of our citizens. To do otherwise is cowardly and cruel. You can tell your Senator I said so.

Don Brown
July 5, 2010

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