For too many days, Repugnican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky abused Senate rules to block a one-month extension of unemployment benefits. In the end, he halted the embargo, though not soon enough to prevent an interruption of payments to around 100,000 workers. But he doesn’t give a damn, nor do any other Republicans.
Democrats and Republicans live in different quantum realities, and an unbridgeable gap separates them, as well as the nation.
Paul Krugman wrote accurately in the NYTimes:
Take the question of helping the unemployed in the middle of a deep slump. What Democrats believe is what textbook economics says: that when the economy is deeply depressed, extending unemployment benefits not only helps those in need, it also reduces unemployment. That’s because the economy’s problem right now is lack of sufficient demand, and cash-strapped unemployed workers are likely to spend their benefits. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay.
But that’s not how Republicans see it. 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.”
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.
Repugnicans would say that Democrats have moved sharply left (not nearly left enough for this Faustian): check out the leaked Republican National Committee fund-raising plan to motivate donors by promising to “save the country from trending toward socialism.” We should be so fortunate to turn toward a Social-Capitalist paradigm. Of course, the truth is that Republicans now support a type of soft Fascism in concert with a cruel Austrian School Economics.
I believe that the state/condition of life for citizens is going to need to get much worse before turning away from the destructive influence and sociopathy of American conservatives.
Based upon the chart above, we’re about to see that play out.