The Fallback Meme

So now that people are being laughed at for lying about the CBO report on Obamacare, Ross Douthat moves on to the next load of horseshit, which is that the CBO report shows that Obamacare is going to turn us into shiftless losers because people who were working jobs simply to have health insurance might not work as much:

There are hints of a division within the liberal mind on this issue. Across the left and center-left, there’s agreement that an unequal society requires a thicker social safety net, and that as technological changes undercut low-wage work, government should help those left behind.

But in the Obamacare debate and elsewhere, it’s not always clear whether this larger welfare state is supposed to promote a link between work, security and mobility, or to substitute for work’s gradual decline. On the left, there’s a growing tendency toward both pessimism and utopianism — with doubts about the compatibility of capitalism and democracy, and skepticism about the possibility for true equality of opportunity, feeding a renewed interest in 1970s-era ideas like a universal basic income.

On the conservative side, things are somewhat clearer. There are libertarians who like the basic income idea, but only as a substitute for the existing welfare state, not as a new expansion. Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.

The question is whether tomorrow’s liberals will be our allies in that fight.

Translation- the poor shmuck who is working the night shift because he gets benefits there might just quit his job now that he has the medical care and peace of mind he needs. Obviously, a contented and cared for serf leaves nothing for conservatives like Douthat to like…

129 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s almost like they’ll just lie about any damned thing.

  2. 2
    Gex says:

    So many people I know felt stuck at jobs that were slowly killing them on the inside just so they could have health care coverage. By all means, conservatives, argue that the ACA is terrible because people now get to choose jobs and careers that fulfill them rather than drain them. That they have choices and freedom rather than indentured servitude. That’ll win people over.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    All this damned time we’ve had to hear the R party assholes shout themselves hoarse about “Freedom”.
    And now when someone is offered the chance to take the opportunity for “Freedom”, it somehow makes them a slave of Big Govt.

  4. 4
    cyntax says:

    Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.

    Fiercely resisting the decline of work by doing anything short of actually making sure people have a livable wage…

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    Jokes on them. I have health insurance through work and I’m still a shiftless loser.

    Oh, and this:

    There are libertarians who like the basic income idea, but only as a substitute for the existing welfare state, not as a new expansion.

    is bullshit. Any libertarians who like the basic income idea only do so as an argument for eliminating the existing welfare state. Eliminate the welfare state and you eliminate libertarian support for basic income rights.

  6. 6
    Bob says:

    Cardinal Douthat, please stop fucking with us.

  7. 7
    aimai says:

    @Baud: Good point. I was going to make the opposite point. Having health care hasn’t turned the Canadians and the Swiss and the French into shiftless losers who never work. People will always work because work is necessary to survive and thrive. The Affordable Care Act isn’t the same as a guaranteed minimum income. Its just a wall against total immiseration and despair when people become sick. There is literally no connection between health care and work patterns except in the US where you had to be working to get into an employer based health insurance pool. Where health care is guaranteed people still work.

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Douthat needs to spit out Bobo’s jizz.

    It ain’t makin’ him any smarter…

  9. 9
    Spirula says:

    “doubts about the compatibility of capitalism and democracy”

    Ignoring his pscho-babbling about the state of the “leftist mindset”, as a leftist I have no doubt they are incompatible in the US. Citizens United pretty much sums it up as to why.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @aimai:

    Good point.

    You’re talking about me calling myself a shiftless loser, right?

  11. 11
    Eric U. says:

    I suspect that people who have a job so they can keep health care are probably not the best employees they could be.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    If all workers go Galt, all Galtians will have too work. Can’t have that.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    @Baud: Yes. It was just perfect. Not for you, for all of us.

  14. 14
    RSA says:

    On the left, there’s a growing tendency toward both pessimism and utopianism — with doubts about the compatibility of capitalism and democracy

    Hey, we’re not the ones making it harder for poor people to vote.

  15. 15
    Citizen_X says:

    @Spirula: Funny, last person I read going on about the incompatibility of “Liberty” (= corporate capitalism, of course) and democracy was a libertarian.

    Quelle surprise, right?

  16. 16
    slippytoad says:

    @aimai:

    Good point. I was going to make the opposite point. Having health care hasn’t turned the Canadians and the Swiss and the French into shiftless losers who never work

    No indeed it has probably made them less willing to put up with bullshit jobs and abusive employment practices, which let’s face it is what the GOP is really dying to preserve, and increase.

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    My youngest daughter is now 19, and pursuing a career in Archaeology. She’s doing great, 3.7 first semester, and is already being mentored by top tier professors and scheduled to do a paid internship on an Albanian dig this summer, it being related to Archaeobotany. She’s already talking about graduate and doctorate work.

    When that same daughter was 15, a biopsy of a birthmark revealed atypical cells, and we paid for several thousands of dollars’ worth of procedure to remove that birthmark.

    That diagnosis would have left her uninsurable on the individual market forever (underwriting would have locked her out), which would have greatly constrained her career choices – instead of being able to feel free to pursue a goal which she has clear aptitude for, she’d have had to track in on a business type curriculum so she could assume her place as a wage slave in a cubicle.

    PPACA does make it possible for her to feel economically free to attempt this academic career without worrying about the shit wages and nonexistent benefits at the front end, and ultimately, I suspect she’ll earn quite a bit more than she would as a cubicle drone.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    Health insurance availability will create jobs because people will be freer to start their own businesses and hire people. No more does the guy with the good business idea have to stay in the crappy job because he’s got some chronic disease or history of some disease that disqualified him from affordable healthcare coverage. He can go off and start his business, someone else can take his job, and eventually if he’s successful he’ll be hiring people.

    He wins. Person who took his job wins. Local community wins. Economy wins. Wins all the way around.

  19. 19
    EriktheRed says:

    Translation- the poor shmuck who is working the night shift because he gets benefits there might just quit his job now that he has medical care and peace of mind he needs. Obviously, a contented and cared for serf leaves nothing for conservatives like Douthat to like…

    Yeah, that pretty much covers it, John.

  20. 20
    Corner Stone says:

    @Eric U.:

    I suspect that people who have a job so they can keep health care are probably not the best employees they could be.

    I’m not sure how you reach that conclusion.

  21. 21
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Douthat’s brand of conservatism basically consists of No Forelock Left Untugged.

  22. 22
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Botsplainer: Last paeleobotanist I talked to, who had a paid internship, pulled the coprolites assignment.

    Just sayin’.

  23. 23
    aimai says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Forelock? Is that what the cool kids are calling it these days?

  24. 24
    BarbCat says:

    69 year-old Mr. Barbcat can retire from teaching sculpture at a major research university because his 55 year-old wife with a pre-existing condition no longer has to fear she will be dumped by her healthcare provider. How in the effing world is that not a good thing not only for us, but for the university, the community and hundreds of students? There are so many ways the ACA spells ‘Freedom’, if you will.

    I can’t wait for this to come up in a Presidential debate. It shows what a complete misunderstanding the GOP has of the need for a nimble economy in the technological age. Even their Fox News viewers are starting to hope someone knows what they will never know. Their grandkids will soon have 3-d printers in their basements; “let me print you a new pair of eyeglass frames, Grandpa.” Their grandkids understand Nate Silver. Time waits for no one; least of all the ignorant.

  25. 25
    Chris T. says:

    SE “Sippy” Cupp was making the same bogus argument on Maher (“but but but LEE-Brools keep telling us about the DIGNITY of WORK”).

    I kept wishing someone would say: “When you do a job you think is important, work gives you dignity. When you stay in a job you think is worthless because that’s the only way you can get health care for your family … where’s the dignity? That kind of work is degrading.”

    (There were more than a few years I thought about quitting to form a start-up of my own, but the whole idea of giving up subsidized health care stopped me. As it happens, I’ve switched to a much more interesting job anyway now.)

  26. 26
    Botsplainer says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Her geology prof had her taste 160 million year old shrimp shit at a site in Colorado in the fall.

    He didn’t tell her until after she tasted it.

  27. 27
    WereBear says:

    I’ll be impressed by right wing shills’ reverence for work when they actually do some. Copying whatever came through the fax that day and making sure their headshot is suitably pale, smarmy, and be-jowled does not count.

  28. 28
    Origuy says:

    From TBogg’s tweet:

    So @DouthatNYT sees "work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality" . He writes one column a week. #bluecollarman— TBogg (@tbogg) February 9, 2014

  29. 29
    Randy P says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @Eric U.:
    I suspect that people who have a job so they can keep health care are probably not the best employees they could be.

    I’m not sure how you reach that conclusion.

    I don’t think it’s a big leap from “the only reason I work this job is for the insurance” to “I am not really motivated about this job”. Is that really such a mystery?

    How about if I phrase it “if it weren’t for the insurance, I’d walk out of this job tomorrow”. Does that help you understand how “only in it for the insurance” is not necessarily a correlator for high motivation?

  30. 30
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Botsplainer:
    After 160 million years, anything in it that was ever dangerous was long since dead, right?

  31. 31
    JaneE says:

    Choice is always bad for the poors. Or the wimmin. Or the non-Christian. Or the non-dominionist Christians. Or the anyone but the far right winger totalitarian overlords. You can’t offer choices to people who always choose wrong. Any choice that they wouldn’t make, or actually have made (but it’s OK because they are special), is wrong by definition, as is anything proposed by president Obama.

    These people have nothing but contempt for the majority of Americans who work for salaries and wages. Do they really think that no one notices? Or that the voters can’t realize that they 1) contradict themselves, 2) lie about what they have said in the past, and 3) can neither read nor do basic arithmetic?

  32. 32
    Eric U. says:

    how the hell does human poop get fossilized?

    I’m not sure if this is germane to this particular discussion, but at Subway the other day they had signs up offering signing bonuses to work there. Would be nice if the economy turned around enough that people didn’t have to lower themselves to take any scut job available.

  33. 33
    something fabulous says:

    It feels to me like the obvious thing is that there are plenty of people who will want those openings, but now people are going to have to look at hiring again among the longer-term unemployed to fill these new gaps, and that is harder for HR than the current only-hire-the-currently-working mentality. It will be a change for them. Poor dears.

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    What have I done, O mighty FYWP, that you have put my comment in moderation?

  35. 35
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Eric U.: Time. Exclusion of oxygen. Mostly time.

    The latrines at Vindolanda, on Hadrinan’s Wall, were particularly good for reconstruction of the soldiers’ diet, id-ing local domesticated fauna, elucidating trade and intra-and inter-provincial transportation of foodstuffs, etc,

  36. 36

    I had the strange fortune of being at the car repair place with FOX on when the CBO 2 million jobs thing came out. They leapt instantly to lazy moochers.

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Spam filter experiment….

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Randy P: I think an equal formulation could possibly be, “I fucking need this health insurance. I am going to show up every day and give it my all!”

  39. 39
    Jamey says:

    @cyntax: The stupid twat writes one or two columns a week and has the fucking stones to lecture OTHER PEOPLE about the soul-affirming qualities of WORK?

    Oil the guillotines, stat…

  40. 40
    Amir Khalid says:

    I have two comments awaiting moderation for some reason.

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jamey: It’s his creative juice essence that he’s sharing with us plebes twice a week.
    That takes a lot out of a man.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    My other comment is in moderation… I made no references to gambling buildings or ED pills or those leather things worn on the ends of our legs. I am confused.

    It seems to me that the code the Righties fall back upon is undecipherable by anyone under fifty, and thus, has a sell-by date on it. If you have gone to school as you were told, and took on a lot of debt, as you were told, and can’t find a job because none of your friends are, either… you just don’t see that old Puritan bootstrap routine in the same light at all.

  43. 43
    maryQ says:

    Has anyone ever noticed that when women voluntarily leave the work force, we don’t get called shiftless losers, or moochers, or takers? It’s called opting out,and it is a revolution and it gets written up in the NY times. Why is no one talking about this when they talk about the CBO report?

  44. 44
    Botsplainer says:

    @Eric U.:

    how the hell does human poop get fossilized?

    Time and pressure, like when my friend Andy Dufresne dug his way through the walls of Shawshank and crawled through 200 yards of foulness you can’t even imagine….

  45. 45
    IowaOldLady says:

    There was a post at GOS today in which a guy said the ACA allowed him and his asst to quit their jobs. The asst was in her early 60s, so not yet eligible for Medicare, but her husband was on it and was ill. She wanted to quit to take care of him, but she’d had breast cancer and before the ACA, she’d never have been able to get health insurance, which she obviously needs.

    The guy who wrote was in his 50s, but his wife was older and retired. They had a good investment income but he had high BP and cholesterol and would have a lot of trouble getting insurance. Now he could do it. Their income would be too high for a subsidy, but that was ok with him.

    How can this be bad?

  46. 46
    Jamey says:

    @Corner Stone: Wait, Dough-that is a man?

  47. 47
    Jamey says:

    @Amir Khalid: Obviously, you’re not working hard enough…

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    Republicans use to run on job lock. The other great Republican idea was health savings account which is another way of saying, if the rich can afford it, let them deduct it. It sure doesn’t help those who support a family on thirty thousand a year.

    ot… I have hay fever or some allergy related thingy but good news, we are going to have an ice storm tomorrow and Tuesday. That should get rid of the weed that is irritating me.

  49. 49
    eric says:

    @RSA: true and the entire point of democracy is that there is no privileged economic or social policy other than one person one vote. tyranny of the majority is countered not by democracy but by the Constitution and only as to certain policies. the belief that capitalism is essential for democracy is a creature of the right, who, when push comes to shove, will use authoritarian means to preserve the capitalism at the expense of the democracy.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    I suspect this crushing fear that some prole somewhere might lay around watching pron on the job-creator’s dime instead of digging ditches for $7.25 an hour is yet another species of the Wingnut Projection Principle.

    Just as the worst degenerates and child-fuckers are obsessed with the fear that the non-white, non-straight and non-male are on the verge of an outbreak of lasciviousness, it’s the people who inherited piles of cash and greased skids through no effort of their own who are most fearful that laziness will be rewarded.

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    There are several Republicans who have mentioned job lock and it’s up to those campaigning to use it against them. Paint them as the hypocrites that they are.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jamey: Well, he didn’t sleep with Chubby Reese Witherspoon back in college.
    But I guess we can’t hold that against him.

  53. 53
    Botsplainer says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    How can this be bad?

    Because they’re not miserable, and therefore not on their knees praying to God.

    Conservatives are big on ensuring the maximum misery for the most people that aren’t them because that makes them hopeless and likely to look to religion for comfort.

    A desperate person is a pliable person in the workplace.

  54. 54
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Betty Cracker: People judge others by themselves.

    I once saw a study about people filling out job applications that asked if they’d ever stolen anything from their workplace. You’d think everyone would say no, right? But people who steal often believe everyone does it, and they think that if they say no, the prospective employer will think they’re lying. So they say yes.

    Projection. Yeah.

  55. 55
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Well, he didn’t sleep with Chubby Reese Witherspoon back in college.
    But I guess we can’t hold that against him.

    She should thank her lucky stars to this day that it didn’t happen. He’s probably a lousy lay anyway, and I suspect would have pretended that she was a boy.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @maryQ:

    Has anyone ever noticed that when women voluntarily leave the work force, we don’t get called shiftless losers, or moochers, or takers?

    Wow. This is like, a whole universe of different discussion.

  57. 57
    currants says:

    @Amir Khalid: guessing it’s like licking a rock?

  58. 58
    Sly says:

    But in the Obamacare debate and elsewhere, it’s not always clear whether this larger welfare state is supposed to promote a link between work, security and mobility, or to substitute for work’s gradual decline.

    There’s a reason why the most common age group of people who start their own business is 55-65. Medicare is responsible for more entreprenurial activity than virtually any other governmental policy. The downside for dipshits like Douthat is that it allows someone who have actually worked for a living to die with a measure of dignity instead of shackled to job they hate. That blessing is reserved for the Great and Powerful people, to whose visages Douthat turns to with wanton ardor when Chunky Reese Witherspoon makes him flaccid with all her talk about birth control.

    On the conservative side, things are somewhat clearer. There are libertarians who like the basic income idea, but only as a substitute for the existing welfare state, not as a new expansion. Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.

    1) There is no such thing as a libertarian who “likes” the basic income “idea,” even as an alternative to the existing welfare state. Libertarians reject the idea of a welfare state not because it is bureaucratic; they reject it because it includes the notions of “welfare” and “state.”

    2) The libertarian objection to it is the same reason that “rugged individualists” and “communitarian conservatives” (as if there’s a practical dime’s worth of difference between these purely artificial distinctions). All conservatism, at its core, is a reaction against the left’s answer to the labor question; that labor shall use the power of democratic self-governance to secure for itself what has been traditionally denied to it by the tyranny of capital. The reaction? No you won’t because… reasons!

  59. 59
    PIGL says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m sure glad I don’t work for you.

  60. 60
    Botsplainer says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    After 160 million years, anything in it that was ever dangerous was long since dead, right?

    Tasted like dirt, she said.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @PIGL: I am glad as well.

  62. 62
    RSA says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I think an equal formulation could possibly be, “I fucking need this health insurance. I am going to show up every day and give it my all!”

    Sure, but that’s in principle no different from “I need money, so I need this job.” Health insurance being in the picture is a historical accident. To put it a different way, if during a job interview you were asked, “Why do you want this job?” answering “I need health insurance, so I’m going to work really hard” would probably not count as a plus.

  63. 63
    Yatsuno says:

    @WereBear: Apparently FYWP is having a moment.

  64. 64
    Corner Stone says:

    This is getting a little silly.

  65. 65
    Tokyokie says:

    I love it when an asshole writes a column making assumptions about people in circumstances the asshole columnist has never experienced (and, if he’s a right-winger, likely never will). But for it to come from somebody who works at a newspaper who knows dozens of colleagues who’ve been sacked for no fault of their own is especially contemptible. All Rusty had to do was call one of them and discuss how the ACA would affect his or her life to gain a different perspective. But that would have entailed a wee bit of work, and apparently Douthat prefers to live a life without dignity.

  66. 66
    TooManyJens says:

    @maryQ:

    Has anyone ever noticed that when women voluntarily leave the work force, we don’t get called shiftless losers, or moochers, or takers? It’s called opting out,and it is a revolution and it gets written up in the NY times.

    Offer only valid for:
    a) Women in very traditional Christian marriages, preferably ones who plan to homeschool the kids; or
    b) Educated upper-middle to upper-class white women.

    Pretty sure everyone else would still be subject to being called moochers.

    @Tokyokie:

    I love it when an asshole writes a column making assumptions about people in circumstances the asshole columnist has never experienced

    That’s Douthat’s specialty. You should hear his judgments about why people aren’t having enough kids (he himself has, I believe, one child).

  67. 67
    Heliopause says:

    But in the Obamacare debate and elsewhere, it’s not always clear whether this larger welfare state is supposed to promote a link between work, security and mobility

    One thing that’s always puzzled me about this mindset is the notion that individuals exist for the purpose of striving toward an idealized civic order, rather than a civic order existing for the purpose of benefitting its citizens. Seems like Brooks is always saying similar things. It also seems to me that this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the context of a putatively “conservative” worldview. I’m probably just missing something.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @Yatsuno: Well, at first I took it personally, but then realized Amir was getting snagged too, and everyone loves him!

    How you doing? When you get the other hip done will you be asked to run for President? (Just going by your past behavior…)

    If conservatives love work so much, why aren’t they creating any? All I see is corporations laying off workers and give the work to the ones who can’t complain, lest THEY be laid off.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @Heliopause:

    One thing that’s always puzzled me about this mindset is the notion that individuals exist for the purpose of striving toward an idealized civic order

    Just listen to everyone, on both sides of the aisle, go on and on about the dignity of work. The honor and purity of hard work.

  70. 70
    WereBear says:

    @Heliopause: the notion that individuals exist for the purpose of striving toward an idealized civic order

    I’m starting to think this is part of that Authoritarian mindset that creates such pretzel minds.

  71. 71
    TooManyJens says:

    @Heliopause: That’s how they feel about the market, too. Markets aren’t human inventions to be used as a tool, where appropriate, to better human lives; instead, human beings should conform themselves to the market’s demands.

  72. 72
    doug r says:

    Back in ’81 when Calgary was having its first oil boom, the unemployment rate was roughly 2%. McDonalds was paying $5 an hour, about $1.20 over minimum wage (remember 1981 dollars) because they couldn’t get any kids.
    When the bottom 2% find they don’t have to work 3 jobs to pay for healthcare, the bottom is going to drop out of the labor pool. Wages are going UP.

  73. 73
    Lyrebird says:

    Thank heaven (or some more appropriate agency) for the commentariat!

    A less witty addition to the excellent comments above (I think maybe baud and Betty Cracker hafta split the internets…) —

    Among the handful of people I know who have actually started small businesses, greater safety net programs are extremely popular, bc it means a *much* better pool of potential employees for them!

    That pool of idiocy calling itself a column has gotta be projection, or else someone dared him to write the most asinine and contrary to fact article possible and see if he still got paid.

    Depressing.

    Maybe I can use it as a bad example in class, though.. hm….

  74. 74
    PIGL says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m sure your legions of employees are inspired by your regime of fear, despotism and condescension. You’ll be Mr. Fortune 500 any day now.

  75. 75
    Gex says:

    @RSA: Yup. If all you are in it for is insurance, you will do enough not to lose the job, but probably no more. If you actually work a job because you want to work that job, you will do more than just the bare minimum. Employers should like that. They might even be able to reduce staffing if they get employee rolls filled with people who want to do the job instead of people who have to do the job.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @PIGL: I’m just waiting to get the chance to fire a couple people who give birth to premie distressed babies.
    Preferably live on a conf call, but I’ll take what I can get as long as I can can a couple of those lazy moocher asses.

  77. 77
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: Hey, the AOL guy said he was sorry and reversed his position. No harm, no foul, right?

  78. 78
    Pogonip says:

    @WereBear: You get moderated for mentioning $HOE$?? What the fvck?

  79. 79
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    His latest follow-up to that is even worse:

    we shouldn’t care at all about what further disincentives to low-wage work public policy might add?

    Everything he writes about this spins it as people quitting their only jobs and sitting around collecting welfare instead just because they can, rather than the family farmer who works shifts at another job to have the benefits because he couldn’t afford private health insurance, now being able to just farm, or the small business owner giving up the second corporate gig that she took for the health care, or the person doing night shifts as you describe on top of a day job.

    The only real difference between Rush Limbaugh and Ross Douthat is that Douthat doesn’t call them “strapping young bucks”, at least not out loud.

    As a kicker, for your moment of zen, the person arguing against the Republican spin on all this who is the one who Douthat is refuting is, wait for it… Ron Fournier.

  80. 80
    debbie says:

    I cannot believe he’s calling those lunatics “rugged individualists.” I’m reminded of Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m Alright” number.

  81. 81
    Elmo says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Love it. Go Botsplainette!

  82. 82
    Pogonip says:

    Still trying to figure out FYWP’s hostility toward $hoe$. Could it possibly have to do with Sarah Palin and her affinity for overpriced fvck-me $hoe$? That was the only remotely controversial $hoe-related thing I could think of.

  83. 83
    Mudge says:

    Haven’t read all the comments, but I want to know exactly what the Walton children (Walmart) actually do as work. They have as much money, if I remember correctly, as the bottom 41% of the US but sit on their lard asses (or manage their investments…more likely read the investment managers’ reports). Being on Boards of Directors is not work, should anyone attempt that excuse.

  84. 84
    becca says:

    It is so funny when conservatives fancy themselves “rugged individualists”. A bigger batch of toadies does not exist.

  85. 85
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @PIGL:

    I’ll just leave this here.

    @Corner Stone:

    Normally I don’t bother with your pathetic answers, because you’re just a simple.
    But, in this case you’re so far wrong no one can even bother to defend how badly wrong you are.
    There IS NO FUCKING UI EXTENSION YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER.
    And, in a slightly calmer tone, SNAP WAS CUT BY ALMOST $20B DOLLARS YOU FUCKING FUCK. $11B in the budget deal + $9B in the Farm Bill.
    And guess what the budget deal does, you simple fucking ass?
    That’s right, it locks in sequester level funding BELOW THE PAUL RYAN BUDGET PLAN.
    Now, how about you go fuck yourself.

    Reply

  86. 86
    Botsplainer says:

    @Mudge:

    I want to know exactly what the Walton children (Walmart) actually do as work.

    They hoard marks in electronic ledgers like crazy old women hoard cats.

  87. 87
    jl says:

    Donner party conservatism dressed up in bad economic logic. What could go wrong? Probably putting in a few stupid jokes would work better. Doing with a smile might help the BS snake oil medicine go down.

    Anyone besides Grandpa Simpson clones should still have enough life in them to dislike the message.

  88. 88
    J says:

    @Mudge: Coupon clipping is hard work!

  89. 89
    Suffern ACE says:

    Exactly what pessimistic utopia are we talking about here?

  90. 90
    Howard Beale IV says:

    As usual, Mr. Doughy Pantload doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  91. 91
    TooManyJens says:

    @Pogonip: Back in the Stone Age, when the built-in WP spam filter was developed, shoe-selling spam was big. Maybe it still is, I don’t know.

    John’s taken some words out of the filter, but last I saw he hadn’t disabled it entirely (which I would advise doing, but what do I know). I’m not sure if “shoes” still gets you in moderation; guess I’ll find out.

    EDIT: The feet of Balloon Juice are safe!

  92. 92
    Steve S says:

    Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.

    See, that’s why conservatives fight so hard for a huge inheritance tax. They would hate for rich people to leave their kids with trust funds, ensuring the kids don’t have to work. They fiercely resist that idea.

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Translation- the poor shmuck who is working the night shift because he gets benefits there might just quit his job now that he has the medical care and peace of mind he needs. Obviously, a contented and cared for serf leaves nothing for conservatives like Douthat to like…

    This is why you put him on a tumbrel for processing and forget about him, because he’s of no worth to society as a whole.

  94. 94
    PurpleGirl says:

    Probably should have commented earlier but…

    I don’t think low-wage, low-skill job are disappearing or will disappear. We need the people who will work in food preparation/sales (fast food, lower end restaurants); stock work (CVS may automate the cashier’s function but they still need people stocking shelves), truck drivers, cleaning stores, all sorts of other jobs.

    What we will lose are the cashiers, the secretaries and administrative assistants, receptionists — the jobs that can be done with automation. Also with more automation, one person can do more so more people won’t be needed.

    The high wage, high skill manufacturing jobs have already been shifted to lower-wage areas.

    There will be larger numbers of people unable to find work because the jobs won’t be there at all. What will be do with the surplus people? We will need to control population numbers because there will be no way for people to support themselves or families.

  95. 95
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steve S:

    True dat. They are so devoted to the work ethic that they toss their kids into the cold and make them fend for themselves without a trust fund, without family connections, to strengthen them…

    {BUMP, CRASH}

    Sorry, just fell out of my chair laughing at my own words…

  96. 96
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    What will be do with the surplus people?

    That’s easy. Soylent Green.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): You were a deeply stupid person yesterday, and you are a deeply stupid individual today.
    Unless you can answer in the affirmative that there *is* an extension for UI, there *are* no cuts to SNAP, and the bipartisan budget deal is *not* below the levels set forth by the Ryan Budget Plan…then what the fuck are you saying?
    You don’t like my tone? Because you clearly can not argue against the facts in evidence.

  98. 98
    Pogonip says:

    @TooManyJens: Well, now we know where Sarah got those red shoes–and it wasn’t Oz!

  99. 99
    JustRuss says:

    You’d think that a movement that viewed work as essential to human dignity would be squarely behind a federal jobs program during a period of economic collapse. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

  100. 100
    hells littlest angel says:

    @Mudge: The Waltons live lives without dignity or meaning. That’s why they deserve the consolation of all the tax breaks they get.

  101. 101
    Keith G says:

    @PIGL: So you and Watersomething are taking Corner at his word and don’t realize he is jerking your chain from here to Jupiter?

    Hmmm

  102. 102
    Barney says:

    @JustRuss: Yeah, it’s not that they want everyone to have dignity, and therefore work; it’s that they think someone without work has no dignity, and they’re quite happy to look on some people as having no dignity, and despising them.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: The amusing part is that nothing I have said indicates any kind of desire to punish workers to keep them in line for employer provided health care.
    It takes a serious kind of mendacity to read any comment by me to indicate I enjoy hard times for working individuals and others who are not being included in our national conversations.

  104. 104
    joel hanes says:

    @Pogonip:

    You get moderated for mentioning $HOE$??

    One of the most common forms of commercial spambot comment is actually selling counterfeits of expensive designer coverings for the pedal extremities.

  105. 105
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: A former college roomie and bestus of friends is interviewing at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center and also at West Houston Medical Center. We were in the area two weeks ago knocking around and checking out neighborhoods.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G:

    Clear Lake Regional Medical Center

    Is not a great facility, and lacks a great reputation for quality of care. West Houston has a better record but their case managers can be problematic.
    That’s from my ex who is a Pediatric RN. So take as you will.
    Webster is a pretty solid middle/low middle class area for families. If your friend has any interest in nightlife or just general activities out of the house, then Clear Lake and Webster are death.

  107. 107
    Chris T. says:

    @J: These days they don’t even have any coupons to clip.

    (Not just because of zeros and strips, which are of course popular too, but also because nobody bothers printing out a bond, it’s all just electronic records, along with the interest payments on the virtual, electronic bond coupons.)

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    the secretaries and administrative assistants

    Yeah, no, those jobs aren’t actually going away. There are fewer of them with automation, but you will never find an executive who is able to screen his/her own calls and email, schedule appointments, set up meetings, etc. all by themselves.

    Heck, the most senior people at the Giant Evil Corporation have a minimum of two assistants, and some of them have three or four.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    I am so naive sometimes. When I made my last comment, for some reason, I assumed this was an argument that Douthat came up with on his own. Ha ha ha. How could I be so careless in my thinking.

    The idiot argument, which will convince very few, is the new BS meme the GOP adopted when they saw that their distortion of the CBO report was not going to fly.

    Well, it is a loser argument. Too many people will not think the BS pundits are talking about ‘those people’ across town. They will think ‘hey that’s me they are talking about!” Or their spouses, or kids, or parents, or co-workers’. Loser argument. They are past desperate.

    Too wonky probably for most people to notice, that the GOP has long attacked tax breaks for employment-based health insurance because it inefficiently tied people to specific jobs.

    Bring Back Indentured Servitude!
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/e.....-servitude

  110. 110
    Keith G says:

    I have been a neutral facilitator, but I hope the West end is the place. That said, just before the last cold front blew in, we had a great dinner at Jimmy’s on Seawall. Great view, great fish, great beer.

  111. 111
    Keith G says:

    @jl: Oh no….That has been a talking point since the report came out. The Right is motivated to quickly generate a simple, but “sticky”** handful of talking points and quickly begin repeating them until they achieve nearly a conventional wisdom-type status.

    ** clear, easy to envision, and plausible seeming.

  112. 112
    Keith G says:

    @Keith G: Ooopps that was to @Corner Stone:

  113. 113
    Cal P. says:

    Conservatives don’t “see work as essential to dignity,” they see making money as essential to dignity. I don’t see any conservatives championing working musicians or artists, yet if you get rich selling shitty pizza or hawking gold, you’ve achieved the dream.

  114. 114
    jl says:

    @Keith G: Thanks for the heads up that the meme has been publicly adopted for a few days. I am glad.

    This one is ‘sticky’, like a fresh dog turd on a shoe. I hope it sticks. A stupid, loser, dumb meme. I hope the GOP stays this desperate.

  115. 115
    Keith G says:

    @jl: I just about violently parted company with my Nexus as I was streaming a public interest panel discussion on Friday. The conservative guy had the bullet points and was hammering them home (the way they do). The liberal had a fleeting knowledge of the complete report but not enough to rebut that attack so he moved on and let it stand. God I was furious.

  116. 116
    PhilbertDesanex says:

    @IowaOldLady: I had a job quiz that had the question’; Have you ever stolen anything from work besides office supplies?’

  117. 117
    tybee says:

    @PhilbertDesanex:

    the infamous “xerox subsidy”.

    personal use of office equipment/supplies of which the most blatant one was the copier/printer and the toner/paper that it used.

  118. 118
    Matt McIrvin says:

    If the decline of work is to be fiercely resisted, whose job is it to provide jobs? Nobody’s, as far as I can tell. That’s supposed to emerge from the magic of the market. But what happens when it doesn’t?

    Hiring people just to hire them is considered waste by any sanely run corporation. Conservatives themselves heap scorn on government “make-work” programs, government jobs in general, union work rules designed to save union jobs, and protectionism. They don’t oppose technological or process improvements that increase productivity and thereby put people out of work.

    These are all defensible positions. Some of them, I may even agree with. But they’re not “fiercely opposing the decline of work.” It seems to me that they value a lot of things above preserving work.

    What do they actually value? Blaming people who don’t have work, perhaps.

  119. 119
    Judge Crater says:

    I’m sure it’s been said, but Douthat has never had a real job in his life. This is more of the same repulsive duality of the “makers and the takers.” Douthat is a loathsome parasite who knows not what he does. His religiosity is a cover for an empty soul.

  120. 120
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    There will be larger numbers of people unable to find work because the jobs won’t be there at all. What will be do with the surplus people? We will need to control population numbers because there will be no way for people to support themselves or families.

    Controlling population would actually do no good at all on this score, because it reduces demand for goods and services just as much as it reduces the number of people who need jobs. (It may well reduce demand faster, in fact, because people don’t need jobs until they reach a certain age, but you need stuff for babies right away.)

    The problem is that the labor demanded by a given population is less than the amount the same population is still expected to supply to get paid enough to live. Meanwhile, a larger and larger fraction of the money goes into profit. Eventually, though, the mismatch could cause a spiral of lower and lower demand until people are starving in the streets.

    The solution is either (1) to somehow require the people with the capital to pay workers more for less work; or (2) to use taxes on the people with the capital to fund new jobs that might be worth doing, but don’t have a market; or (3) to just accept that labor-force participation is going to stay low, at least for the time being, and just pay people who aren’t working, so they don’t starve in the street and so that they might spend some of that money on somebody else’s job.

    Liberal social programs and labor reforms encompass all three approaches, in combinations that vary over time. (1) seems to have died along with the power of unions and (2) is regarded as some kind of scam, so (3) is all we really have left.

  121. 121
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Corner Stone:

    @Randy P: I think an equal formulation could possibly be, “I fucking need this health insurance. I am going to show up every day and give it my all!”

    Speaking personally, I find that throughout my career, every moment that I’ve spent fretting about my compensation or benefits, or the possibility of losing my job in the next layoff, or whether or not I’m pulling my weight sufficiently to justify my salary, has been a moment that I’m not concentrating on the work, and won’t be doing my best. That was true even when I was a graduate student wondering whether I would have a job after school, and it’s still true.

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Jesus Fucking Christ.
    No shit.
    People who need something from their employer cover a spectrum. That’s all I suggested.
    Fuck this.

  123. 123
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: ah gee… Here you were, third bourbon in your system, your buddy Keith G with his knee pads on with your favorite flowers, ready to unleash your drunken venom on someone and now you are leaving? Shoot…

  124. 124
    Original Lee says:

    @IowaOldLady: Some employers do assume you’re lying if you say no. A friend’s son recently applied for a stocking job at a big box retail chain store, and it being his first job, wrote no for a lot of those kinds of questions. He was told that he didn’t get the job because he was clearly a lying thief. The manager actually said that they assume everybody steals so they don’t hire people who lie about it.

    Edited to correct egregious typos.

  125. 125
    AnotherBruce says:

    @IowaOldLady: Fuck, I have high BP and cholesterol. These are very treatable conditions these days, and are treated very inexpensively. If insurance can’t cover someone with these conditions, what the fuck are they good for?

  126. 126
    AnotherBruce says:

    @TooManyJens: Yes they give the market an identity. As if it were some kind of deity.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    Tone In DC says:

    @WereBear:

    I’ll be impressed by right wing shills’ reverence for work when they actually do some. Copying whatever came through the fax that day and making sure their headshot is suitably pale, smarmy, and be-jowled does not count.

    LULz.

  129. 129
    jefft452 says:

    “Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality”
    But not so much as to actually do any of it

Comments are closed.