Deficit Zombies And Their Quest For Brains: Why Spending is Irrelevant

“This bill is bad because it increases the deficit! Yeah, well this bill is good because Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia!”

Both true statements. Both completely irrelevant to the debate over whether a bill should be signed.

Pointing to debts and deficits as evidence for why a bill is good or bad is an intellectually bankrupt way of adjudicating its desirability.

The debt will go up!!

So what? What’s the ultimate impact to that? Why is this relevant? Unless you can explain and quantify your meaning behind this, statement it doesn’t mean a thing.

Focusing exclusively on on how much a bill costs is a silly way to analyze whether a bill is good or bad. When you’re buying toys for your children would you buy a cheap toy from China full of lead that’s just waiting to give them poison?  Of course not.

Spending decisions, like all decisions, exist in the framework of cost benefit analysis. How much benefit are you getting relative to the disadvantages incurred by your actions? In this case conservatives have failed to make the case for what the ultimate implication of increasing the debt/deficit is. It exist as little more than a neurological reflex that’s triggered anytime they see a dollar sign. It’s not really all that different than a legion of zombie’s bumbling down the street with a blank expression on their face saying “BRAINS. BRAAAAAAINS”.

The jobs bill would cost $30 billion. (Remember .000000001% of the deficit) So what? That’s an extremely small price to pay to extend loans to small businesses, invest in R&D, and to help struggling parents feed their starving children. Hell, considering  the benefit to the economy, I’d say the jobs bill is a bargain.

$30 billion spent by the federal government is $30 billion the government just injected into the economy. The idea that we shouldn’t pass bills that spend money is just empty rhetoric. Empty rhetoric that violates all measures of common sense. That’s like telling a business it shouldn’t reinvest its capital into the business. Not only does this violate simple common sense, it’s quite literally, anti-capitalist.

It’s so simple even a caveman can do it, but apparently not so simple that a Republican can. So next time you look at a bill weigh the pro’s and con’s before you reject it out of hand.

And do yourself a favor. Don’t be a deficit zombie.

Advertisements

As Unemployment Grows Republicans Filibuster Jobs Bill

To no one’s surprise Republicans continued their scortched earth policy by using obstructionist tactics to filibuster yet another soon to be law. And who was their target this time? The small business owners and the unemployed, their favorite kick me while I’m down targets.

What exactly does this bill contain that the GOP finds so offensive:

The biggest and most important item is the extension of unemployment insurance. This comes in a few different parts: One part extends the insurance programs that deal with the long-term unemployed. Another extends the $25 boost to unemployment insurance checks that we’ve had in place since the beginning of the recession. And a third allows workers who find part-time work but need full-time work to remain eligible for some unemployment benefits.

Then there’s the extension of the federal government’s program to help states pay for Medicaid costs. During recessions, more people need Medicaid, which increases the program’s cost, but state revenues drop, which reduces their ability to pay for the program. So the federal government, which can run temporary deficits, steps in and increases the share of the program’s costs that it pays. This bill extends that program. The bill also includes another temporary fix to Medicare’s doctor payments.

The bill also has a raft of tax cuts and investments, including billions for the Small Business Administration to offer more loans to small businesses, bonds to fund infrastructure development, money to encourage private-sector R&D. and more. A full list of the bill’s provisions, and its subsequent modifications, can be found here.

And for those of you fiscal “chicken” hawks out there who are screaming about the deficit at the top of their lungs, the only portion of the bill that would have added to the deficit is the $30 billion in unemployment benefits, with the rest of it being paid through various other channels.

So in the end, Republicans interfered with another law’s passage because it would have increased the deficit by 0000001%

Rand Paul To Unemployed Americans: Suck It Up, Get off Your Ass, and Get a Job

For people who are allegedly some of the smartest people in the country, politicians sure do say some dumb things:

In an interview with WVLK-AM in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, Paul told host Sue Wylie he supported the Republican filibuster last week of more than $100 billion in emergency spending that includes extended jobless benefits. Paul said the bill must be paid before the extension is voted into law — and if that can’t happen, it’s time for America’s unemployed to face facts and stop holding out for jobs similar to the ones they’ve lost.

“As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that’s less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again,” he said. “Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen.”

Really?

REALLLLY, Rand Paul?

Of course the fucked up thing is that conservatives like Rand Paul actually believe this sort of crap. In their eyes there are no poor, just people who make bad financial decisions, the unemployed are just too lazy to get a job, and businesses are infallible. After all they would never cut corners or break the law to make a profit, right?

There’s a certain level dogmatism in conservatism thought that involves a combination of ignorance and hubris. To simplify the current unemployment situation in this country as people who are unemployed are too lazy and/or unwilling to go back to work exemplifies this. People who haven’t been able to support their families for a year aren’t turning up their noses at  jobs so they can continue to live the ghetto fabulously life style on the dole.  Living off of unemployment and welfare carries with it an undeniable level of shame because you’re unable to provide for your family, struggling paycheck to paycheck on a minuscule pittance that the government gives you every month. Always living in fear of what you’ll do when the checks stop coming.

But aside from his complete ignorance on poverty, having been raised in the affluent lifestlye afforded only to the son of a multi millionaire’s politician, Paul misses an even clearer and undeniably obvious point. Unemployment IS  the ultimate pay cut. Because no matter how much less hypotetical job A that only exist in Paul’s mind pays you, its still a lot more than zero.

A point obvious to everyone but Rand Paul himself.

Mythbusted: The Non Existant Migration Tax

Dylan Matthews, on Ezra Klein’s blog, produces a crap ton of research that disproves the one of the major myths (see lies) pushed by the free market ideology.  Namely, the idea that raising taxes will cause people to move to another, lower taxed, state.

Of course, anyone who sat down and thought about this for more than half a second could have probably dismissed this silly idea by themselves.

Despite what conservatives believe, people don’t govern their lives exclusively by monetary decisions. While it might be “profitable” to move from one state to another, people have emotional and social investments in the places they live now. Are mommy and daddy going to pack up the family and pull little Jenny out of school and away from all her friends just so they can move from a 5.4 tax rate to a 4.9 rate? Probably not.  Sure, Jenny could probably make new friends, but when you take into consideration finding a quality school, finding a new job (assuming there are jobs available no doubt a BIG if), buying a new house, moving away from family, oh and by the way WHO WANTS TO LIVE IN KANSAS?…the social implications begin to far outweigh the economic.

Of course, this is assuming that moving from state to state would produce a net positive economic impact. Moving is expensive, especially moving to another state that might be on the other side of the country. Can you find a job that pays you a comparable wage…hell can you even find another job? What’s the cost of living ,etc, etc.  I could sit here all day and list negative economic costs.

The Bottom line here is that the life of  an American is a lot more than just a number in an excel sheet. It doesn’t take common sense to figure out bullshit like this,  just normal sense.

Dear Readers: Please Insert Your Foot Into My Ass

Not that anyone cares, but anyone who still, or ever, read(s) this blog probably has noticed that my updates have gone down exponentially in the past year. Part of it couldn’t be helped due to the rigorous time demands of my job and part of it is due to a general lack of interest in the political issues being discussed in the news lately. But regardless of the cause of my lack of blogging, I still miss keeping an updated blog.

Sooooo…

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get on my ass about keeping my blog updates. Call, text, email, post in the comment section, whatever it takes. Just make sure I’m posting my normal assortment of smart ass and sometimes offensive blog enteries with some semblance of regularity.