It’s The Economy, Assholes

Oh my:

In the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to resume its debate about whether to extend the emergency jobless benefits that were passed in response to the steep increase in unemployment caused by the recession. But people like Frazee, who have suffered the longest in the downturn, will not be part of that conversation. They are among the 1.4 million workers who have been unemployed for at least 99 weeks, according to the Labor Department, reaching the limit for the insurance. Their numbers have grown sixfold in the past three years.

The 99ers are glaring examples of the nation’s most serious bout of long-term joblessness since the Great Depression. Nearly 46 percent of the country’s 14.6 million unemployed people have been out of work for more than six months, and forecasters project that the situation will not improve anytime soon. Currently, the Labor Department says there are nearly five unemployed people for every job opening.

Frazee, 50, has applied for work at more places than he can remember since he lost his construction job two years ago. He has tried car dealerships, Kmart, Home Depot and the funky shops on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, near Toms River. He looked into becoming a commercial crabber, working in title insurance and as a bail bondsman. But no dice.

While searching for work, he lived on $585 a week in unemployment payments. But the checks were cut off in May when he reached 99 weeks. Now Frazee, who is married and has a 5-year-old daughter, is in a financial free fall with no safety net.

***

On several occasions, Senate Republicans have said they would not vote for stimulus bills that included unemployment extensions, saying any new spending must be offset by cuts elsewhere. With the extensions expired at least temporarily, more than 2 million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization. A report by the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that 21,700 Virginians, 12,300 Marylanders and 5,200 D.C. residents lost their benefits when the extensions ended.
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Congress’s inaction has been accompanied by a growing sentiment among lawmakers that long-term unemployment benefits create a disincentive for the jobless to find work.

“Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”

***

Most of the time, Frazee said, he has been confident that things would work out, if only because they always have. He started as a construction worker after his father’s endorsement helped him land a spot in the Laborers’ International Union Local 415 shortly after he graduated from Toms River South High School in 1978.

When he wasn’t working construction, he had jobs on oil rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., and in the Gulf of Mexico. He also was a bounty hunter. “I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “I’ve always worked.”

Until now. The longer he is out of a job, the more unemployable he feels. He suspects that potential employers are turned off by his age and by the fact that he has been out of work for so long. But he is moving near the top of the hiring list for his union. And in the meantime, he has been buying mail-order children’s quartz watches from China and selling them on consignment at local convenience stores. He clears close to $3 per watch.

“I’m a union construction worker, but I think I can be a hell of a salesman,” Frazee said. “A lot of the stores around here are owned by Indian Americans, and they like me. They’re taking my watches. Maybe India and China are going to help me out of this jam if my country won’t.”

You would think this kind of story would motivate the Democrats, but considering the Republicans have every incentive to make sure more people are miserable, I doubt motivation will help much. That’s the perverse reality. The more Americans who hurt, the more political and philosophical incentive the GOP has to block any attempts to help the economy.

And his job is not going to come back any time soon- there is so much inventory out there it will be hard to imagine a need for union construction workers any time soon. That’s just the cherry on the top of the whole sundae for the GOP. Union men now down to hawking foreign manufactured trinkets at the market- it even sounds like a Somali glibertarian paradise.

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127 replies
  1. 1
    balconesfault says:

    The ideal right now would be for the Dems to take a key Republican issue, and prominently put it on hold until the extension of unemployment benefits can be passed.

    The problem is that the Republicans don’t have a key issue, except doing as much damage to the economy as they can so they can campaign on the Democrats failure.

    How do you negotiate with political nihilists?

    I’d say you get creative. You work with funds you have already in various pots, you start setting up Federal employment offices in 200 locations across the country, spaced so that there’s a <10% chance of living further than 1 hour from any location. You start creating construction projects out of thin air – real CCC/WPA kinds of things. You make sure that for the next six months, every major media market has 2-3 shovel groundbreaking or ribbon cutting completion photo-op ceremonies a week. You get off your frigging thumbs and declare "people who want to work are hurting" and you put them to work, and you dare anyone to stop you.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    I’ll bet you 50 bucks there isn’t a US Senator who has a family member or friend who is unemployed and struggling.

    House of Fucking Lords.

    Without the class.

  3. 3
    Punchy says:

    Economy sucks, GOP takes over, Obama impeached weekly.

    However, there’s even worse evidence that this country is going to hell

  4. 4
    EFroh says:

    Is it bad that I hope Tanner gets fired and stays out of work permanently so he can test the validity of his own thesis? Christ, what a prick.

  5. 5
    Bhall35 says:

    Sort of OT, but fellow Aspen attendee Mort Zuckerman is getting a lot wingnut attention for this ratfucking appearance on FOX claiming he “wrote” one of Obama’s speeches.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....44194.html

    ETA: it’s been around awhile so hard to tell how much traction it’s getting.

  6. 6
    Bret says:

    Shorter Cato Institute guy = “If everyone would just work for $8 an hour, corporations would hire more, and everyone would be employed!”

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    it even sounds like a Somali glibertarian paradise.

    Wait till he stops hawking watches and starts holding up convenience stores. Then we can talk about Somali paradise.

    At this point, all the GOoPers have left is lies. If they do manage to get control of the House in ’10, is it going to be any better than the Gingrich Congress of ’94? I don’t remember the Republicans walking away with the ’96 election two years later.

    The real question is going to be whether we want to relive two more years of Bush Administration, minus the housing bubble. I honestly can’t see Republicans maintaining their gains, assuming they are truly poised to pick up the 30+ seats they need.

  8. 8
    kay says:

    @Bhall35:

    It’s really a funny article. Unequivocal denial, wouldn’t you say?

    Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman” and the two have “been closely involved in every speech the President has given since 2005,” said the official.

    Mort Zuckerman is an Obama speechwriter in the same way Mort Zuckerman has “always been a Democrat”, apparently.

    I like how he says “we” endorsed Obama. He means him and the 7 people who read his vanity magazine.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    slag says:

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”

    Why do libertarians think they have a complete understanding of “simple human nature” when they can’t even do simple math:

    Currently, the Labor Department says there are nearly five unemployed people for every job opening.

    ?

  11. 11
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau

    The actor?

  12. 12
    John PM says:

    You know what really is a disincentive to work? Being a fellow at a Republican/libertarian think tank! Just repeat whatever stupid talking points your benefactor wants you to say and – bingo – you are done working by 10:00 am.

    I know way too many people who have lost their jobs recently, and exactly zero of them have any disincentive to try to find a job. Not to mention the fact I found out yesterday that the uncle of one of my son’s classmates committed suicide because of his PTSD after returning from Iraq. Fucking Republicans.

  13. 13
    kay says:

    @Bhall35:

    Do we have to have crazy warmongering corporate-lackey conservatives in the Democratic Party?

    I understand Big Tent Theory and all, but there’s a whole other Party devoted exclusively to Mort’s values. PLENTY of room over there. He’d fit right in. What, exactly, makes him a “Democrat”?

  14. 14
    Napoleon says:

    God stuff like this depresses me. Our political elite is totally failing this nation.

  15. 15
    Malron says:

    John, this is nothing new. Before I found my current job I had been unemployed for 3 years. My unemployment extensions were denied in August of 2008 and all repeals were rejected soon after. 9 weeks? Shit, I’m talking 156 weeks, man.

    I hope they keep fighting to pass the extensions all the way up into November if necessary.

  16. 16
    PurpleGirl says:

    ….as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed…

    Sounds like he thinks every unemployed person decided one morning as they woke up to get fired that day or to somehow lose their job and incomes. Wanker. And he will never be unemployed… his friends will always find a sinecure for him.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    I think you’re looking only at the negatives here.

    This could be very good for tent manufacturers and scrap wood collectors, as well as for curtain rod and barrel makers.

  18. 18

    I called the office of Richard Shelby, unfortunately my Senator until I move soon. The staffer swore up and down that Shelby and McConnell voted to extend UI benefits. I told her flat-out I didn’t believe her. She then mentioned something about a stand-alone bill.

    (EDIT)Oh never mind, I recall now. It was that anti-stimulus measure. Like, as long as we allow the economy to crash and burn so the Democrats get blamed, we’ll throw the unemployed a little bone.

  19. 19
    cleek says:

    @balconesfault:

    The problem is that the Republicans don’t have a key issue, except doing as much damage to the economy as they can so they can campaign on the Democrats failure.

    lucky for the GOP, nearly all professional Dems are complete political imbeciles and will let this fact go completely unmentioned !

    if only there was some group of people who could be counted on to notice and to say intelligent things about such remarkable things. they could write magazine articles, or go on TV shows, or something. if only. hell, i’d help advocate for a Constitutional amendment to help ensure that such a group was able to work freely.

  20. 20
    EconWatcher says:

    This stuff has me on the edge of despair. Obstruction and insanity are going to be rewarded.

    It’s beginning to feel like Obama is going to end up a tragic figure. He jumped on the sinking ship and started bailing furiously, but it was too late. So it will be all his fault when the ship goes down. And the guys who blew a hole in the hull are pointing and laughing from the safety of their lifeboat.

    I’m really tempted to disengage and quit watching this spectacle. I’d rather play with my 3-year old daughter.

  21. 21

    Oh never mind, I recall now. It was that anti-stimulus measure. Like, as long as we allow the economy to crash and burn so the Democrats get blamed, we’ll throw the unemployed a little bone.

  22. 22
    PeakVT says:

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior whore at the Cato Institute, a glibertarian propaganda shop.

    I forget where I read this, but one of the side benefits of unemployment insurance is that people don’t have to take the first available job. Instead, they have time to look for a job in their field of expertise, whether it be systems administration or construction or whatever. If everyone took the first job, a lot of training and working knowledge would go to waste.

    Of course, proper utilization of the workforce’s expertise is impossible when there are 4.7 people available for every opening. There just isn’t enough work to go around, no matter how much of a pay cut people take.

  23. 23
    El Cid says:

    @Equal Opportunity Cynic: ‘We promise — if only legislation kept being changed to meet our hour by hour changing preferences, we would so vote for it. We’re tired of the other side moaning that we won’t let them kick the football this time.’

  24. 24
    tootiredoftheright says:

    “She then mentioned something about a stand-alone bill.

    Yeah supposedly it is said by Republicans that they wanted to use funds that meant out to be paid next year for the stimulus to pay for the unemployment extension.

  25. 25
    Bhall35 says:

    @kay:

    What, exactly, makes him a “Democrat”?

    Beats me. I just love how he’s suddenly a hero to the right. If they knew he was such a narcissistic jackass, maybe they’d pick their champions more carefully.

    Haha, just kidding.

  26. 26
    Nellcote says:

    @Equal Opportunity Cynic:

    Was this a poison-pill strategy by the GOP to avoid extending benefits but pretend they were for the extension?

    It might be the one where the goopers want it paid for with “unused” StimFunds.

  27. 27
    Nellcote says:

    Since Cap’nTrade is looking like a nogo, perhaps they could bargain for a program to properly insulate buildings and homes. It would put thousands of construction workers to work and ultimately lower power bills and energy use.

  28. 28

    And the guys who blew a hole in the hull are pointing and laughing from the safety of their lifeboat.

    Because they figure that once the Captain drowns, they can take his snazzy white uniform!

    Only little hitch is that the ship will still be sinking, and once they’re wearing the uniform again they’ll be responsible for this hole they tore into it.

  29. 29
    b-psycho says:

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”

    He’s got a point on the last part. Since he’s still getting that huge check from Cato to spew this nonsense, he lacks the motivation to think about how actual human beings live.

  30. 30

    @Nellcote:

    Yeah, I called her back. She denied this, saying, “We always oppose all forms of stimulus.” It’s a total non-sequitur, because oppose it or not that’s where the money comes from.

    It’s just so obvious they want the economy to crash and burn. Do the rich do so well from having Republicans in power that it’s worth destroying the country they want to plunder?

    I can’t wait to leave this pigsty. Really even though life intervenes, everyone sane should move to a swing district of a swing state; it’s just too important not to.

  31. 31
    TJ says:

    @balconesfault:

    Dude, I’m a loony lefty and even I know what their Achilles heel is. Tax hikes on the wealthy. They’ll hear the squeals in Somalia. You want leverage, put a few of those on the table.

  32. 32
    slag says:

    @PeakVT:

    If everyone took the first job, a lot of training and working knowledge would go to waste.

    Training? Working knowledge? You aren’t suggesting that the American worker actually makes a contribution to our country in some way, are you?

    Because I learned at the Cato Institute that the average worker was just an economic freeloader who should consider himself lucky for whatever scraps the Masters of the Universe should happen to toss his way.

  33. 33
    Nellcote says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I’m really tempted to disengage and quit watching this spectacle. I’d rather play with my 3-year old daughter.

    That’s exactly what they want us to do. It’s the whole point of the relentless psychic assault. The less engaged we are the easier it is to muddy the waters.

  34. 34
    eemom says:

    I don’t usually like that DIAF epithet. It’s too nasty, even for me.

    But these Republicans can die. in. a. fire. Preferably on an exploded oil rig.

    Eternal damnation is ok too, but I insist that it be televised.

  35. 35
    Tecumseh says:

    I got a month left so the Senate better get off their asses and vote this sucker through or else I’m screwed.

    @slag: I hate this statement about unemployment making people unwilling to work. If unemployment pays better than a job– one not in your field or intended field, like working at Safeway or something– what sense would it be to take it? I’m barely able to pay the bills and have almost blown through all my savings as it is now on unemployment. Why should I then take a lesser paying job if it’ll make it that much harder to scrape by? That makes no sense. If I’m stuck having to do it, that would mean having to live off credit cards and borrowing money from parents. Why would that be a good thing? Oh, and it is harder to look for work when you’re, say, temping or what have, as you can’t spend all that time looking for or going to interviews. How does that help?

  36. 36
    Ruckus says:

    @John PM:
    This can never be said loud or often enough. Fucking Republicans. I would like to amend though as it should be ..
    Mother Fucking Conservatives.

  37. 37
    Sanka says:

    That’s the perverse reality. The more Americans who hurt, the more political and philosophical incentive the GOP has to block any attempts to help the economy.

    Probably one of the most politically tone-deaf comments I’ve read on the intertubes.

    Republicans are ee-vil and the virtuous Demmycrats are here to save mankind if only the American people were smart enough to vote in REAL Demmycrats. Dumb rubes…

    If only the REAL Demmycrats, not the “fake” Demmycrats, the REAL Demmycrats really had power, things would be different, right?

    Democrats have had control of the government for the better part of four years now. The left-of-center “realignment” has been going on since 2007 allegedly, yet the magic elixir of Keynesian economics, budget commissions, the incessant lies about “green” jobs and on and on, have yet to materialize.

    Why stop at 99 weeks unemployment? Hell, make it 199. Or better yet, how about an automatic stipend from Uncle Sam as soon as you turn 18 which is good until you get a job? Can’t have people without checks now can we.

    Let me guess. Majorities in congress and the White House are not enough for Democrats to deliver unicorns that shite gold pellets? I guess we need super-DUPER majorities….

    I implore the inept Democrats that are in control now to get out there on the campaign trail this summer and campaign on the basis of “Vote more of us into office….we promise….things will get better!!”

    Yeah, that’ll be a real winner….

  38. 38
    El Cid says:

    We can never forget — when most of us look back upon the soup lines in the Great Depression, we think it’s bad that people had it so bad they had to stand in line and hope to be given soup by charities.

    When Republicans look back on soup lines in the Great Depression, they’re most frustrated that anyone is handing these lazy bums free soup.

  39. 39
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Couple this with Kyl’s ridiculous assertion that you never have to pay for tax cuts by raising taxes (in reference to the expiring tax cuts for the blood-drenched wealthy), and you have the makings of a populace uprising–if the populace would actually give a damn.

    Via Benen, $30 B for unemployment benefits v. $678 B in tax cuts for the aristocracy.

    As Rachel said, it’s like making a G & T–without the G.

    It’s really disgusting.

  40. 40

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”

    Grrrrr. words fail.

    ETA: Perhaps if some of the 14.5 million were able to get to Washington and make their voices heard on a certain weekday after the rich fucks who run this country get back from their recess …

  41. 41
    mds says:

    The ideal right now would be for the Dems to take a key Republican issue, and prominently put it on hold until the extension of unemployment benefits can be passed.

    Would putting the destruction of Social Security on hold fit the bill? Congressional Dems apparently want to campaign on extending the retirement age to 70, but still.

  42. 42
    Svensker says:

    You would think this kind of story would motivate the Democrats,

    You would be wrong. They are all rich and important people. They don’t know anyone who is in trouble and they don’t really get it. So long as the bankers, the corporate bosses, the military-industrial complex, and the Israelis get their tax dollars, the rest of us can go suck. on. a big empty this.

  43. 43
    eemom says:

    @Ruckus:

    No, let’s stick with Republicans. Because they really are not “conservatives” under any actual definition of that word, which generally encompasses some kind of coherent, principled ideology, however one may disagree with it. These people have no ideology and no principles. They are about nothing but getting back in power and using it to benefit the few at the horrific expense of the many. That’s not “conservative.” It’s just plain evil.

  44. 44
    El Cid says:

    @Sanka: Republican politicians are evil. And not only should we have a restoration of aid to the unemployed, we should have a massive public employment program as an updated version of the New Deal. But instead we’ll keep getting a bunch of right wing radio lying retards claiming that the biggest problem we face is the deficit and that if the unemployed don’t create themselves some jobs through wishing then it’s not anyone’s responsibility to help out.

  45. 45
    cleek says:

    @Sanka:

    Democrats have had control of the government for the better part of four years now

    nobody who knows anything about how our government (especially the Senate) actually works could believe that.

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    @asiangrrlMN: For our fake ‘deficit hawks’ only believe there’s a ‘spending’ side to the budget ledger, and not a revenue side. It’s a new innovation in openly fraudulent bookkeeping approaches.

  47. 47
    El Cid says:

    @cleek:

    nobody who knows anything about how our government actually works could believe that

    Well, that limits us to a few elected officials, a couple of talk show hosts, and a few blogs.

  48. 48

    @Sanka:
    Wow, that’s a troll I haven’t seen around here lately.

  49. 49
    Greg says:

    After two years of searching for a full-time job, I am perfectly willing to accept one that is “less-than-ideal”. The problem is that the less-than-ideal job is not willing to accept me. Apparently, I am over-qualified for every job available on the planet. A planet on which the only two skills that matter are proficiency in Excel and the ability to mindlessly answer/make 20 phone calls per hour in English and Spanish (using a script, of course).

  50. 50
    eemom says:

    oh GOD. Do we have to deal with that toxic instant coffee troll today?

  51. 51
    Chat Noir says:

    @EconWatcher:

    This stuff has me on the edge of despair. Obstruction and insanity are going to be rewarded.

    You describe exactly how I feel. Some days my head hurts at the stupidity of it all.

    This post of Benen’s made me feel slightly better, if for nothing else than this:

    Congressional Republicans refuse to put forward a substantive policy agenda, not because they’re just too darn busy, but because they know it’s very likely voters would absolutely hate it. In particular, Ryan’s “road map” — eliminate Medicare, privatize Social Security, huge tax cuts — was so transparently ridiculous that the House GOP leadership went out of its way to not endorse it.

    I’m trying to find anything these days that doesn’t make me completely despondent over the state of our nation.

  52. 52
    cmorenc says:

    I’m having a very uncomfortable dialogue with my 21-yo daughter, who’s a rising senior at a respectable state university, with a respectable (well over 3.0, but well short of Phi Beta Kappa territory) GPA – and a major in psychology. I’m realizing just how much more her awareness (and those of a great many among her circle of firiends) of the tough economy out there has been insulated than I heretofore believed. In recent conversations about her about her still incompletely formed efforts to plan for her career future, I find myself strongly encouraging her to think with hard-eyed practicality and choose something in higher demand with relatively more security (such as nursing) rather than something more dreamily ambitious and intriguing (going to grad school in psychology). This is totally contrary to the way I believed kids should be brought up to think only five years ago, but it’s the hard reality. I hope I can make it sink in, so that she doesn’t wind up yet another humanities college grad floundering through her 20s working shifts at Starbucks while living intermittently at home and intermittently in shared apartments with three or four other girls similarly situated, not much different than back sophomore year in college except with time spent chasing leads and passing out futile resumes instead of writing term papers.

  53. 53
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @El Cid: No shit. And, as Rachel said, if you only believe in one side, you are not serious about the deficit at all. And, I the term deficit vulture very much.

    @Greg: That’s the shitty Catch-22, isn’t it? I hope your luck turns for the better very soon.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:

    @eemom:
    No, let’s stick with conservatives.
    If conservatives had any coherent plan or ideology that actually wasn’t about power, greed, puritanical correctness, and/or fucking over their lessers, I Might be able to agree with you. But they don’t. I’ll even admit on this blog that I’m wrong if you can show me just one conservative who has been or is pushing an ideology that does not meet at least one of the above criteria.
    So I repeat, Mother Fucking Conservatives.

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    @Ruckus:

    but that’s the point. They CALL themselves “conservatives,” but they’re not. The word itself has a meaning, and I personally like to respect the meanings of words.

    However, I’m not here to quibble. Call them what you will, just as long as we agree that they’re motherfuckers who should DIAF.

  56. 56
    daveNYC says:

    Couple this with Kyl’s ridiculous assertion that you never have to pay for tax cuts by raising taxes (in reference to the expiring tax cuts for the blood-drenched wealthy), and you have the makings of a populace uprising—if the populace would actually give a damn.

    Oooh, an uprising… can we schedule that around Dancing With the Stars?

  57. 57
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @daveNYC: Sigh. Unfortunately, that would be the actual response.

  58. 58
    vanya says:

    she doesn’t wind up yet another humanities college grad floundering through her 20s working shifts at Starbucks while living intermittently at home and intermittently in shared apartments with three or four other girls similarly situated

    Actually that sounds like a pretty good life.

  59. 59
    Studly Pantload says:

    @Greg:

    Exactly! This is what makes me want to hurl bricks of fire when I hear the skilled unemployed are being disincentivized to accept whatever low-skill/pay jobs are out there — employers right now have a freakin’ huge pool of workers to draw from at all skill levels. Why in the *hell* would they want to hire someone obviously overqualified who will likely continue to hunt for something better-paying and bolt at the first opportunity?

    So far as the supposed gravy train that unemployment benefits are supposed to be, let’s see — since I was laid off late in ’08, I’ve cashed in two modest retirement accounts with former employers, my once-golden credit rating is in shambles, my car is months overdue for an oil change, and I’ve been putting off recommended dental surgery for one of my pets. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones (larger unemployment check than the national average, no kids to worry about).

    Meanwhile, even though my benefits don’t currently expire until October (thank FSM Washington State has it’s own pool of unemployment funds I can draw off of until/if the Senate can reinstate federal benefits), I’m going full steam ahead on the job apps, having submitted over 100 in just the last 30 days. Oh, and the number of call backs I’ve received in that time?–Three, so far. That’s right, I’m getting a 3% response rate, just a little above the rate folks who send out junk mail hope for. And believe me, my resume is not junk. And that’s with the unemployment rate in my county being under 8%; I can’t imagine what it’s like for job hunters where the rate’s in double digits.

  60. 60
    PaulW says:

    @daveNYC:

    I’m serious. Call a date to march on the Capitol with the 27 million unemployed and I’ll be there.

  61. 61
    Paris says:

    The Repugs continue to counter that unemployment is not being paid for. So pay for it with a tax on the financial sector that caused the problems. I hear that wall st and the banks are doing okay. They can afford to help out.

  62. 62
    Mumphrey says:

    Reading this story made me wonder what would be justice for somebody like Jim DeMint or David Vitter. I know what I’d like to see happen to them; reading that, I know what I’d like to do to them myself. I’d like to beat them senseless, but that isn’t really justice.

    Just as a philosophical question, what would be justice for people like that who casually and happily fuck people over for–what? Fun? Profit? Political advantage? Ayn Rand? It’s hard to even understand why they do it, for me at least, since I can’t understand how somebody could be so unfeeling. I know the Republicans now believe empathy is a bad, bad thing (Glenn Beck even said it was empathy that drove the nazis to kill retarded people), but I don’t understand how they could be so empty and soulless.

    To answer my own philosophical question, I think justice for those people would be for them to truly understand what they’ve done, to really get it, how they’ve ruined people’s lives and in some cases even indirectly led to people’s deaths. That would be justice, for them to understand the monstrousity of what they’ve done and to know that there’s no way to undo much of it and to have to live with that knowledge for the rest of their lives. Too bad it’ll never happen.

  63. 63
    cleek says:

    i tried to post something about this on my little blog, but my host is all fucked up… so, let’s all play with it:

    As job creation and an economic growth stall, the Obama administration is being criticized not just from all parts of the political spectrum in the U.S. but also from big business, which increasingly believes that the president harbors a thinly camouflaged antibusiness bias. Late last month, for example, Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg—speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Business Roundtable, a group of 170 CEOs representing the largest U.S. corporations—accused the administration of undercutting a recovery by overregulating, overtaxing, and failing to focus on America’s long-term competitive problems. Indeed, in my own off-the-record conversations earlier this month with several CEOs, similar sentiments were echoed. The question is, does corporate America really have a case against President Obama?

    I can see why big business feels alienated, and CEOs could be right about Obama’s fundamental instincts. But I would bet that the president will change course and move to embrace a good deal of corporate America’s agenda after the November midterm congressional elections.

    that’s right, the CEOs think Obama is “undercutting a recovery by overregulating, overtaxing, and failing to focus on America’s long-term competitive problems”.

    and what does the idiot author of the piece think Obama is going to do when he changes course?

    Come early 2011, watch for a Clintonesque adoption of some Republican vocabulary, including references to a “pro-growth business agenda.” More fundamentally, look for President Obama to work much more closely with CEOs to reduce deficits while using tax policy to encourage new investments in such areas as energy, R&D, and training for workers, for example. He’ll have to push new trade agreements, higher quotas for skilled foreign workers, and tougher enforcement of intellectual-property rights.

    tax breaks, more foreign workers and tougher IP laws ?

    we’s fuxxd

  64. 64
    EconWatcher says:

    Mumphrey:

    You’re assuming a capacity for feeling guilt and remorse. Don’t bet on it. It’s not necessarily standard equipment in humans.

  65. 65
    GregB says:

    Are there no poor houses?

  66. 66
    Beulah says:

    @cmorenc:

    I sympathize with your worries, cmorenc, but please don’t despair. Has your daughter mentioned ANY ideas she has for using her psychology degree? You may already know this, but a masters degree in psychology can be extremely versatile, especially for a young person (i.e., a person under 30). There are hundreds of specialized applications for psychologists, and graduate school will help her explore what she wants to do with her career.

  67. 67
    R. Porrofatto says:

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank

    Being protected from the full consequences of being unemployed — i.e., impoverishment, hunger, homelessness, etc. — is the FUCKING POINT of unemployment insurance, you heartless shithead. Damn, sometimes even the better angels of my nature want to see the entire Cato Institute incinerated into ashes.

  68. 68
    The Moar You Know says:

    It’s beginning to feel like Obama is going to end up a tragic figure.

    @EconWatcher: Beginning? The “black Jimmy Carter” tag you notice on a lot of posts at Balloon Juice didn’t get created by accident.

    They tried this on Clinton, but he had enough of a stranglehold on Congress that it didn’t work until the Lewinsky scandal blew up. Obama doesn’t have that stranglehold and is getting his agenda – and our national well being – destroyed by his own party. Oh, the Republicans are somewhat to blame but if Dems had anything like party unity Republican obstructionism wouldn’t be a factor most of the time.

  69. 69
    eemom says:

    “I see desparation explode into flames.”

    We need a revolution. We really really do.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    The financial panic and the Great Recession are not over until they are over. One of the premises of the financial bail out and the stimulus was that we basically had a liquidity problem. It was just a little problem with the cash flow, don’t you know. For all the smart things Summers said about how to design a fiscal stimulus (even though most of them were not really included to the extent that he advocated), one wrong idea ran through his thinking: that this recession was like others, just give the financial and labor markets a little breathing room, and ‘the market’ could easily adjust to the gross and huge distortions in allocation of capital that took place over the last five to ten years. That assumption was wrong.

    By now, according the Summers’ line of thought, the market value of housing should have caught up with the expectations of the bubble. Debts and gambles could be paid off. A weaker than usual, but recognizable, recovery lead by construction would be underway, and would start spreading to the labor market.

    You be the judge.

    There is an old question in economics, that to my knowledge was unresolved. How does the free market adjust when the fixed capital stock goes out of whack? The fixed capital stock (too many too expensive single family homes, too much office space in the wrong places) has been built and cannot be unbuilt. As far as I know, free market fundamentalist economics could not solve this problem, so like many other such problems, decided it was not interesting anymore. Economics decided it would be much more fun to study financial capital allocation, where all the connection to the real economy is summarized in how the prices jiggle over time, whatever is done can be undone easily (in theory).

    Some of the phenomena discussed by commenters above (eg, not being able to find a job because applicant is overqualified) is exactly what Joseph Stiglitz predicted in his asymmetric information theory.

    The free market macroeconomists do not believe such problems can persist for along time, and when a union construction worker or a psych major have to take jobs at half the pay in a fast food joint or as Walmart greeters (if they are lucky) that is just market equilibrium working. If labor complains, they are just self-entitled schlubs feeling sorry for themselves.

    The fact that these people spent large sums and lots of time building skills for careers that are not there anymore does not seem to be a problem to the free market macro thinkers. Others might point out that when this kind of thing happens on an economy wide scale involving millions of people, that must be a sign of a serious and longstanding expectational disequilibrium. But free market equilibrium macro people do not see this as a problem. So unfortunately there will be academics supporting the Cato line of thought.

    Interesting that Michael Spence, who shared Stiglitz’ Nobel Memorial Prize also sees signs that economy is in some kind of serious disequilibrium, and is calling for a US industrial policy.

  71. 71
    El Cid says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I’ve been saying this for months, even here.

    And if you’re not willing to discuss the revenue side of the matter along with spending, you’re not only not serious about the deficit, you aren’t even talking about a fucking budget at all.

    Because that is what a god-damned budget is. Shit, no company out there looks only at its expenditures and ignores its revenues & profits.

  72. 72
    kdaug says:

    @EconWatcher:

    And the guys who blew a hole in the hull are pointing and laughing from the safety of their lifeboat private islands and gated communities.

    Fixed.

  73. 73
    fucen tarmal says:

    @El Cid:

    i worked for one once, they were having an *ahem* difficult transition from a growth model, where every thing is free wheeling and fancy free, to a value, or revenue model, built for sustaining the long term. one of three companies i have worked for that is no longer there…and in my more reflective moods i wonder if i am the company killer…but nah, it does play a motherfucker of a resume trick though(thanks punchy that which is seen cannot be unseen). try verifying work experience with no one at all to call.

    these idiots still believe their supply side garbage…amazing..what will it take before they fix the fucking thing. or people get smart enough to see the right wing flat out apocalyptically doesn’t give a fuck, not about them, not about anything, la la la live for today my ass!

  74. 74

    whenever i hear people like Michael D. Tanner spout their bullshit, i always want to punch them in the face.

  75. 75
    JackieBinAZ says:

    When your benefits run out, that just gives you the incentive to become an entrepreneur! That’s the only message Republicans will take from this.

  76. 76
    kdaug says:

    @Mumphrey: Simple. 90% top marginal tax rate of anything over $5 million.

  77. 77
    El Cid says:

    @PaulW:

    Call a date to march on the Capitol with the 27 million unemployed and I’ll be there.

    I don’t think this should be a quip, and it should be being organized right now by our major labor unions and netroots types (I guess) and by whatever’s left of ACORN. Etc.

    They’re not going to pay attention to you if you don’t demand their attention.

    On January 25th, 1941, A. Philip Randolph officially proposed a March on Washington to “highlight the issue [of continuing discriminatory hiring practices in federally paid for military-related industries].”
    __
    In the following months, chapters of the [March On Washington Movement] began to organize for a mass march scheduled for July first of that year. Predictions during the spring had the number of marchers at about 100,000.
    __
    Just a week before the march was to take place, an “alarmed President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, establishing the first Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).” Mayor La Guardia of New York City met with MOWM leadership and informed them of the President’s intentions.
    __
    Before the order was signed, the MOWM demanded that Government employment, not just armed forces involvement, be brought under the order and it was done. A major concession by the President and government, Randolph subsequently canceled the march, but continued the March on Washington Movement as a way of holding the FEPC to its mission, which was to desegregate the armed forces and continue the pursuit of civil rights….”
    __
    …While mainstream media had a role in the perception of the movement, it was African-American media outlets that most meaningfully portrayed the MOWM. Early in the spring of 1941, black newspapers displayed a level of skepticism at the movement’s lofty goals. The Chicago Defender worried whether even “2,000 Negroes would march.”
    __
    The tone changed, however, as the date of the march approached. By May, black newspapers began to fuel the flames, and The Amsterdam News ran the front page headline: “100,000 IN MARCH TO CAPITOL.” If it was a simply tactic of bluffing, the same tactic was shared by black press as a whole. The Chicago Defender, after its initial skepticism, “spoke of 50,000 preparing for a March for jobs and justice.”

    Note the need to go around the establishment media, via the blogs of the time — the independent, African American press.

  78. 78
    Corner Stone says:

    @cleek: You know what’s great about the piece you cited?
    This:

    Last month, Verizon Communications Inc. Chairman Ivan Seidenberg accused the federal government of “injecting uncertainty into the marketplace.” Last week, he was named to a presidential panel on U.S. exports.

    Bloomberg

  79. 79
    Nick says:

    I was lucky…I was just unemployed for 10 months and had a wealthy family to take care of me besides unemployment, which I almost didn’t apply for because I need it…but since someone else wasn’t gonna get it, I took it.

    9 months into my unemployment, I engaged in a throw down of familiy members and friends of mine who tried to take that right wing “unemployment just makes people lazy” bullshit, and who told me, after sending out hundreds of resumes and barely getting a half dozen interviews, that all I needed was “more gumption”

    On the verge of tears, I told them that I had been trying and I felt like a failure, I even blurted out, to my own surprise, that I wished I was dead.

    It didn’t move anyone. I was told to stop whining and go out there and “show them what I got” and it would work.

    It didn’t…I eventually scored a job, by luck and good connections.

    To a lot of people, Mr. Frazee is just lazy and doesn’t have enough “gumption” because it was easy for them, why wouldn’t it be easy for me and Mr. Frazee?

    Many Americans just don’t get it and they never will.

  80. 80
    cckids says:

    @Equal Opportunity Cynic: Um, no–hello, it was Capt. O’s fault. Don’t you pay attention? Only Dems can be blamed for stuff.

  81. 81
    cleek says:

    @Corner Stone:
    i should be shocked. instead, i’m barely surprised.

    why, based on the crowd he keeps, it’s almost as if the economy we’re seeing is exactly what Obama wants.

  82. 82
    El Cid says:

    @Nick: Clearly people don’t realize that we reached peak gumption production some years ago. Now people have to find jobs using paranormal powers such as telekinesis or such in order to create jobs out of nothing.

  83. 83
    Nick says:

    @cleek: Or it’s almost as if we elected a President who enjoys surrounding himself with differences in opinion, which he has always said he does.The GALL!

    No, of course not, it’s because Obama hates liberals and poor people and loves him some billionaire CEOs.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    @eemom:
    Ok. I see that we are on the same page. I thought so and as I’m not so concerned about word purity I stand by my original description of republicans, conservatives and teabaggers. They are all one and the same.
    Running your life is more important than fixing their own.
    M.F.C.

  85. 85
    Lysana says:

    @Nick:

    Many Americans just don’t get it and they never will.

    So damn true. I’m in one of the job skill sets most hurt by outsourcing. I get so fucking tired of being told I’m just not trying hard enough to get work. I’m turning to freelance writing, which is actually the sort of work I’ve privately coveted for years but couldn’t see how to get into it. I was too stuck in the 9-to-5. It’s still scary and hard and I have no idea how I’m making my Cobra payment for August right now. My rent is behind. And my husband’s been unemployed for eight years. Actually got a job interview last month, but he was not hired. And the people who insist they can just fall back on things like pizza delivery have no damn idea how many people already have.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @cleek:

    why, based on the crowd he keeps, it’s almost as if the economy we’re seeing is exactly what Obama wants.

    I don’t have a problem with using Captains of Industry in key roles, leadership roles, however you’d like to characterize them. And to some finite degree I do believe he really believes in co-optation and “Rivals” and all that jazz.
    But after a while it gets tiresome to see exactly who is being given prominence, exactly who is being “co-opted”.
    I don’t want to see the head of Verizon put in a key role, just like I don’t want to see Pete G. Peterson allowed room to breathe.
    Surely there exist key people who can exert influence in a direction other than the one all these people do?
    Why can’t we see more of those people?

  87. 87
    Ed Marshall says:

    Dude is a Laborer. My mom’s side of the family are Laborers and one of them is out of work. You know what Laborers do? Big shit. You use laborers to build big things: Schools, bridges, infrastructure. They are highly trained, skilled people and the fucking country is falling apart for lack of maintenance and there is no sane reason in hell that they are unemployed right now.

  88. 88
    Greg says:

    @Nick I am exactly in your position. I too am lucky to have family that is bailing me out, but we have had several unpleasant conversations where it has been obvious that people think that I am just not TRYING hard enough. I get comments like “Well, did you follow up on that?” With whom? The blind email that I sent my resume to? The do not reply email? Or the automated website job application? Which one should I follow up with? Determination and gumption count for squat. I am hoping for what you got, luck and my good connections.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @JackieBinAZ:
    This is what I had to do 5 years ago, because of age. So I started a consumer oriented business 4 1/2 years ago.
    First year, about what I expected, lost money getting established.
    Second year, 400% growth from first. The idea must be working, things will be OK.
    Third year. Now who could have predicted a gigantic recession with most of our political party’s heads up their asses? Alright, easy answer, almost anyone who was looking.
    Fourth year. I have scrapped through the bottom of every barrel I have, with no end in sight. I was hoping to have at least a couple of employees by now. No such luck with that either.
    Fifth year. WTF, is this going to be my life, for ever?
    MFC.

  90. 90
    burnspbesq says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    “Damn, sometimes even the better angels of my nature want to see the entire Cato Institute incinerated into ashes.”

    Works for me. Go for it. We’ll set up a defense fund for you.

  91. 91
    NR says:

    @Nick:

    Or it’s almost as if we elected a President who enjoys surrounding himself with differences in opinion, which he has always said he does.The GALL!

    If that’s the case, where the fuck are the progressives?

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    @R. Porrofatto:
    I think my better angels are thinking about collecting unemployment. I know I’m trying to talk them into it.
    I wonder how soon enough of us talk our better angels into giving up the internal struggle and let us work out this shit?

  93. 93
    applecoreinaz says:

    That’s a large, beyond-fair-use?- quote from the article.

    And $585 a week? That’s a lot for benefits, though % related. Still, that’s $30,000.

    It super sucks to be unemployed and looking and consistently being rejected. It does something to the soul and erodes confidence, which you have to fight because people can see it — and desperation — in the interview process.

  94. 94
    grandpajohn says:

    “Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

    We must be suffering from a severe shortage of tar,feathers, and rails in this country if we continue to let assholes like this spout their pious shit.

  95. 95
    Nick says:

    @NR:

    If that’s the case, where the fuck are the progressives?

    Hilda Solis
    Lisa Jackson
    Eric Shinseki
    Melody Barnes
    Gil Kerlikowske
    Joe Biden’s pretty fucking progressive if you ask me

  96. 96
    Nick says:

    @grandpajohn: a lot of people, middle class, working class people, agree with him.

  97. 97
    oliver's Neck says:

    @Nick:

    Which is why more of them (members of the middle and working classes) will have to be hurt before things will change for the better. A sad fact, but there it is.

  98. 98
    El Cid says:

    Via Digby, Dylan Ratigan calls out a Republican rep. on his bullshit about the deficit and taxes and fear of health care reform instead of unemployment assistance, spewing of PR talking points, for avoiding talk of Wall Street and bashing the federal government, and that is guest was lying.

  99. 99
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    If that’s the case, where the fuck are the progressives?

    They are waiting for everyone else to leave the room, because they think that theirs is the only opinion that matters.

    @Ed Marshall:
    Dude is a Laborer. My mom’s side of the family are Laborers and one of them is out of work. You know what Laborers do? Big shit. You use laborers to build big things: Schools, bridges, infrastructure. They are highly trained, skilled people and the fucking country is falling apart for lack of maintenance and there is no sane reason in hell that they are unemployed right now.
    Here is where I don’t envy Obama. Too many of his top advisors are fixated on the past (“we must avoid falling into another Depression”) and solutions that kinda worked in the past (“rebuilding infrastructure”), but are having trouble coming up with contemporary solutions to temporary problems.

    We obviously need to rebuild the infrastructure. But with improvements in technology, it takes a lot fewer people than it used to. I’ve watched a smaller crew put up a Borders bookstore and supporting structures using a lot of prefabricated components and mobile equipment.

    Also (and here I have a question, ’cause I just don’t know), how many infrastructure and other projects that people are suggesting will bring unemployed women back into the workforce? A quick google search revealed this stat about women in the workforce:

    77.1 percent of women age 35 to 44 worked in 1998 versus 39.1 percent in 1950.

    Adding to the dilemma of coming up with innovative solutions to the unemployment problem is the insistence of the GOP in resisting any attempts to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats and the total unmooring from reality seen in the ranks of the tea baggers and Palinistas.

  100. 100
    Cacti says:

    Speaking from personal experience, when the last In n Out Burger opened in my city, they had over 300 applicants for their $10/hr jobs.

  101. 101
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yeah, I get it, you aren’t going to bring back the WPA. You don’t build a dam with a bunch of unskilled guys with shovels now. Building X isn’t going to employ as many people as it did in the 30’s, but as long as we are trying to spend money to produce aggravate demand, and to the extent that you want to try and spend that money without completely wasting it, it makes an ENORMOUS amount of sense to build out the capital projects on the wishlist. It’s also something that non-wingnuts *want* to see stimulus spent on.

  102. 102
    BC says:

    @cmorenc: Well, if she goes to grad school and gets an MSW (master in social work), then she will have a useful degree. The VA uses the MSW for their counselors for PTSD and other problems facing returning veterans, and there are a shitload of returning veterans with problems. Plus, the MSW is useful for other types of counseling. Probably one of the best degrees in this field, unless she wants to be psychiatrist with MD. Have her talk to her advisors about job opportunities with various degrees.

  103. 103
    frankdawg says:

    Fine- cut it from the fucking DoD – 10% from them directly into UI and make work projects. Its not like the DoD has been cut to the bone anyway like other department & they can tighten their god damn belt so there is a fucking nation left to defend.

    Jesus Christ I am fucking sick and tired of this bullshit. Canada, with 10% of our population produced 10,000 more jobs last month than we did even with their fucking socialized medicine & higher taxes and better funded schools and better public services

  104. 104

    I was wondering how I could create a website with a Flash animation called “Beat John Kyl to Death With a Hammer”. It would have a little cartoon of John Kyl saying stupid shit, all from quotes he’s made recently and you’d beat him to death with a hammer and the animation would get progressively bloodier and scream more until at some point it was declared dead, at which point a spirit would rise from the animation and be thrown into the flaming pits of Hell. While you were clicking on the mouse to beat John Kyl to death with the hammer you’d hear encouraging messages such as “make him bleed”, “he deserves it”, “you’re doing God’s work”. I’m willing to bet that it would be a popular website.

  105. 105
    NR says:

    @Nick:

    Hilda Solis
    Lisa Jackson
    Eric Shinseki
    Melody Barnes
    Gil Kerlikowske

    With the possible exception of Solis, who does so in a minor capacity at best, none of the people you listed have any input on the administration’s economic policy. Thanks for proving my point for me.

  106. 106
    NR says:

    @Brachiator:

    They are waiting for everyone else to leave the room, because they think that theirs is the only opinion that matters.

    Bullshit.

  107. 107
    Davis X. Machina says:

    This stuff has me on the edge of despair. Obstruction and insanity are going to be rewarded.

    Of course they’re going to be rewarded. As H.L. Mencken said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it — good and hard.”

    The Tories are engaged in good-and-hard, Phase I, in the U.K. I expect we’ll go that route as well. I wonder if the people will invite them to deliver Phase II as well…Thatcher preceded Reagan by a year or so…

  108. 108
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: Charge for it, and you too can become an entrepenoor in The New Economy.

  109. 109
    Svensker says:

    @El Cid:

    Via Digby, Dylan Ratigan calls out a Republican rep. on his bullshit

    Wow, Dylan was on fire.

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    Yeah, I get it, you aren’t going to bring back the WPA. You don’t build a dam with a bunch of unskilled guys with shovels now. Building X isn’t going to employ as many people as it did in the 30’s, but as long as we are trying to spend money to produce aggravate demand, and to the extent that you want to try and spend that money without completely wasting it, it makes an ENORMOUS amount of sense to build out the capital projects on the wishlist.

    I said that I think that infrastructure is important. However, I think you meant to say “increasing aggregate demand,” which is fine, but the ultimate goal is to reduce unemployment and increase wages. This is a tougher nut to crack, and the economists who fixate on increasing consumer spending are missing a bigger picture.
    @NR:
    RE: They [progressives] are waiting for everyone else to leave the room, because they think that theirs is the only opinion that matters.

    Bullshit.

    Back at ya. There are some progressives who blather that Obama isn’t listening to them, but when you look at what they actually have to offer, it is a bunch of stale, recycled ideas that ignore what is actually happening in the economy. And too often, they fail to give the Obama Administration enough credit for what they have accomplished, especially some of the necessary, but riskier moves.

    For example, the American Opportunity Credit does not pay off immediately in terms of new jobs, but may allow people to get education which will pay off in good jobs down the road. And yes, there were progressives who backed this, but some of their good work was drowned out by the carping that came from others who could only wail about the stimulus not being big enough.

  111. 111
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I have some dear friends who are in imminent danger of being fucked over by this (by “dear” I mean “practically my only friends in this state”) and I’m now formulating emergency plans to pretty much fuck over myself financially in order to help them out/prop them up for as long as I can.

    I am pissed the fuck off.

  112. 112
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @applecoreinaz:

    With a family to support that doesn’t go far.

  113. 113
    NR says:

    @Brachiator:

    For example, the American Opportunity Credit does not pay off immediately in terms of new jobs, but may allow people to get education which will pay off in good jobs down the road. And yes, there were progressives who backed this, but some of their good work was drowned out by the carping that came from others who could only wail about the stimulus not being big enough.

    Wow. So, because we got the American Opportunity Credit, that somehow makes the fact (and yes, it is a fact) that the stimulus was too small and too heavily skewed toward tax cuts somehow irrelevant?

    No one I know of has said that the American Opportunity Credit wasn’t a good thing, but it is a tiny drop in an ocean of economic woes. Trying to put it on an equal footing with something like the debt commission, which could threaten the future of Social Security, is utterly absurd.

  114. 114
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    Wow. So, because we got the American Opportunity Credit, that somehow makes the fact (and yes, it is a fact) that the stimulus was too small and too heavily skewed toward tax cuts somehow irrelevant?

    Skewed towards tax cuts instead of what? And saying that the stimulus was too small without saying more precisely how it should have been implemented is a huge waste of time.

    By the way, do you even know how much the American Opportunity credit is supposed to cost or what proportion of the stimulus it represents?

    No one I know of has said that the American Opportunity Credit wasn’t a good thing, but it is a tiny drop in an ocean of economic woes. Trying to put it on an equal footing with something like the debt commission, which could threaten the future of Social Security, is utterly absurd.

    How in the world does the debt commission create jobs, how does it improve the economy? What in the world does this have to do with getting people back to work now or in the immediate future?

    If you ain’t got no jobs, concerns about Social Security is (almost) freaking meaningless.

  115. 115
    NR says:

    @Brachiator:

    By the way, do you even know how much the American Opportunity credit is supposed to cost or what proportion of the stimulus it represents?

    The JCT says $13.9 billion over 10 years. Like I said, a drop in an ocean.

    How in the world does the debt commission create jobs, how does it improve the economy?

    Now that is an excellent question.

  116. 116

    “The Conservatism of Wishful Thinking”

    ^If I were to somehow ever write a book about the Obama administration that would be the title. Whatever opportunity there might have been to prevent the disaster that is unfolding before us was in early 2009. It may be hard to imagine, but there was a brief period of time when Obama’s approval ratting was well above 50%, when a GOP resurgence seemed unlikely to many of the purveyors of conventional wisdom, and even the likes of Jim Baker were supportive of nationalizing some banks as part of the recapitalization process.

    That was the opportunity for Obama to try to wring as much economic stimulus out of the congress that he could manage. That was the time to really fix the banking system and get them lending again. Instead we got pointless triangulation with Obama trying to woo conservatives by passing less economic stimulus than he could have. They made a bet that the economic situation was not a grim as Krugman and others were saying, that the economy would have recovered more rapidly than it has and that all they had to do was pass some minimal stimulus measures to cap unemployment at 8%. I’m sure there must be a mission accomplished banner in the white house closest ready for whenever unemployment drops below 8%.

    Well they were wrong and its too late now to really do anything given the new political climate. By not doing enough the Dems have discredited the basic idea that the government can do anything about the unemployment situation and have breathed new life into Hoover like ideas about how to deal with recessions. I hope Barry has not bought into all that talk of him being the liberal Reagan, because unless the GOP is stupid enough to nominate Palin, 2012 is not going to be nearly as kind to the incumbent president as 1984 was (not that Barry winning a second term will actually mean much for the legions of unemployed and underemployed). If you all find this post too grim, well you can at least take comfort in the fact that it was the qualities of Obama that won him the support of The Atlantic crowd and David Brooks that have doomed us all. There must be some small comfort in that.

  117. 117
    Nick says:

    @NR: you didn’t ask specifically about economic input, so stop moving the goalposts to support your rather stupid point of view.

    and I notice you left Biden out of your list, which is funny considering he’s often the progressive bookend on issues from the economy to Afghanistan.

  118. 118
    dude says:

    The democrats could get this to pass right now if they would give up some of the 800billion they received for a stimulus that is sitting there.

    They’ve already gotten the money appropriated but they are playing politics because they want to spend it on their cronies.

    I know some will say “but that’s for stimulus” well that “stimulus” has been a complete and utter failure because it did nothing transformative, it just gave bucks to their favorite public sector voters.

    They have the money, but they choose NOT to spend it on the unemployed.

  119. 119
    PaulW says:

    @Nick:

    I was lucky…I was just unemployed for 10 months and had a wealthy family to take care of me besides unemployment, which I almost didn’t apply for because I need it…but since someone else wasn’t gonna get it, I took it. 9 months into my unemployment, I engaged in a throw down of familiy members and friends of mine who tried to take that right wing “unemployment just makes people lazy” bullshit, and who told me, after sending out hundreds of resumes and barely getting a half dozen interviews, that all I needed was “more gumption” On the verge of tears, I told them that I had been trying and I felt like a failure, I even blurted out, to my own surprise, that I wished I was dead. It didn’t move anyone. I was told to stop whining and go out there and “show them what I got” and it would work. It didn’t…I eventually scored a job, by luck and good connections. To a lot of people, Mr. Frazee is just lazy and doesn’t have enough “gumption” because it was easy for them, why wouldn’t it be easy for me and Mr. Frazee? Many Americans just don’t get it and they never will.

    I totally sympathize.

    I’ve been out of full-time work for 17 months, sent my resume to about 30 to 50 different places. I’ve been living with a lot of help from my parents who are FOX-watching conservatives who try to tell me that “oh Democrats are the ones who are really holding up the jobless benefits” and that getting rid of illegal immigrants will free up the job market (the job market for farm work and janitorial service?! That’s where my Masters degree is taking me?). I haven’t gotten to the point where I would express the frustration that I’d be better off dead, only because I’ve been through that stuff before in my life (and I promised). But I am dealing with a shitload of depression that isn’t helping my job hunting any.

  120. 120
    Beej says:

    But John Kyl says that the Bush tax cuts need to be extended without paying for them somewhere else. Don’t you just love it?

  121. 121
    Nick says:

    @dude:

    The democrats could get this to pass right now if they would give up some of the 800billion they received for a stimulus that is sitting there. They’ve already gotten the money appropriated but they are playing politics because they want to spend it on their cronies. I know some will say “but that’s for stimulus” well that “stimulus” has been a complete and utter failure because it did nothing transformative, it just gave bucks to their favorite public sector voters. They have the money, but they choose NOT to spend it on the unemployed.

    troll fail. Stimulus money is in place to create jobs. It has created over half a million of them. Republicans want Democrats to use it so that it doesn’t create MORE jobs. That would be politically bad for the Republicans.

    But logic doesn’t work in America, I know.

  122. 122
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    The JCT says $13.9 billion over 10 years. Like I said, a drop in an ocean.

    You evaded my question. You say tax cuts are nothing and that the tax cuts should have been bigger. Putting aside for a moment the fact that Republicans and some Democrats opposed Obama, how much bigger should the stimulus have been and how should it have been used?

  123. 123
    The Truffle says:

    Dems need to make a thousand “daisy ads” out of this GOP shit. That’s all.

  124. 124
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Brachiator:

    Putting aside for a moment the fact that Republicans and some Democrats opposed Obama, how much bigger should the stimulus have been and how should it have been used?

    Well, if Krugman’s “…back of the envelope…” calculations that it takes $200 billion to drop the unemployment 1%, then it should have been about $1 trillion, maybe a little more to make sure that the recovery is long term.

    But how in the hell was Obama and the rest of the (non-Blue Dog) Democrats supposed to get that past the Republican filibuster bloc?

    That’s my frustration with “progressives” who bemoan the size of the stimulus package. Obama traded off size for certainty and speed of passage. Anything bigger would either taken a hell of a lot longer to get through, in the best case scenario, or simply failed to pass whatsoever.

    I do not understand why otherwise bright people fail to realize (political) reality.

    Are we or are we not the “reality based” party?

  125. 125
    Nick says:

    @Dr. Morpheus: I think what we forget is that when Obama first came out as President-elect, the size most economists, including Krugman, suggested was about $500 billion. As the economy got progressively worse through December and January, Krugman and other economists upped the number, so did Obama. Once he got to about $900 billion, everyone went “whoa, whoa, whoa, how big are we going here?” and right there, the message was lost.

    As the incoming White House tried to explain that the economy was getting worse so we need to spend more money, they were drowned out by Republicans and the media who kept drumming up suspicion as to why that number was getting bigger everyday. There was just no chance at winning the message.

    In the meantime, Republicans knew that if they just kept the stimulus small enough for it to only help somewhat and piss of liberals, they could score a long term political victory, and that’s exactly what happened.

    The only way we would’ve stood a chance at getting $1 trillion through is if that was what Obama had first proposed months earlier, but he didn’t, because no one thought he had to.

    The stimulus ended up being bigger than he intitally proposed. People forget that.

  126. 126
    Brachiator says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    Well, if Krugman’s “…back of the envelope…” calculations that it takes $200 billion to drop the unemployment 1%, then it should have been about $1 trillion, maybe a little more to make sure that the recovery is long term.

    I realize that I have a lot of nerve criticizing a Nobel laureate, but I’m just not seeing a correlation between government spending and unemployment reduction. That is, it’s not just not about the money, but where the money is focused. The Krugman piece points to a WaPo column by Larry Summers which makes the following claim:

    The Obama plan represents not new public works but, rather, investments that will work for the American public. Investments to build the classrooms, laboratories and libraries our children need to meet 21st-century educational challenges. Investments to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by spurring renewable energy initiatives (many of which are on hold because of the credit crunch). Investments to put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and public transit systems. Investments to modernize our health-care system, which is necessary to improve care in the short term and key to driving down costs across the board.

    These are worthy goals, but I don’t see them as broadly and quickly creating new jobs. Investment in energy is mainly R&D. I noted earlier that I don’t see how rebuilding roads and bridges is going to put large numbers of men and women to work, and public transit systems in some communities are a solution in search of a problem.

    Building classrooms, laboratories and libraries is an interesting proposition. In California declining enrollments are leading some voters to call for the freeing up of bond money that by law must go to school construction instead of teacher salaries. And in some communities, people are foolishly shunning libraries, under the delusion that with the Internet, they are no longer necessary.

    The payoff for health care reform was deliberately stretched out to have its biggest impact after 2014.

    Again, these are all worthy investments. I just don’t see them as broadly increasing employment in the near term.

    And I would really like to see that envelope on which Krugman scribbled his calculations.

  127. 127
    cleek says:

    @Nick:

    Or it’s almost as if we elected a President who enjoys surrounding himself with differences in opinion

    yeah, that’s it.

    silly me.

    :eyeroll:

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