30 days is a joke: Unemployment benefits aren’t the answer

How many Senators does it take to screw in a lightbulb? First you have to teach them that the power is out and changing the light bulb won’t make a difference.

We have an epidemic problem- band-aids aren’t doing anything to stop the spread of the virus.

That one Senator was able to hold this up- while no real solutions are being offered is a sign of the total and complete break down in Washington:

The Senate ended a politically charged impasse over unemployment pay on Tuesday night, voting to allow jobless Americans in danger of exhausting their benefits another month of aid.

The bipartisan 78 to 19 vote in favor of the extended compensation came after Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, dropped his objection to extending unemployment compensation in exchange for a largely symbolic vote on paying for the aid.

via Senate Ends Impasse Over Extending Jobless Benefits – NYTimes.com.

How about a total suspension of trading on Wall Street until unemployment drops to 7% Extend it to a halt to all foreclosure proceedings, an instant cap on interest rate hikes on consumer credit for missed or late payments, and an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and cessation of “nation building” activities overseas until we’ve built our own country back?

Now is the light bulb flickering?
And before you say it can’t be done, remember that in war time- anything is possible. We had rationing in WWII. Trading stopped after 9/11 Life can go on, but we can’t with this aimless leadership.

It’s time to put Americans back to work and pay them well. It’s what a great nation does. A third world country lets its people slip into poverty and despair.

Where is our leader?

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16 Responses

  1. Steve March 3, 2010 / 9:50 am
    I can tell you that halting trading on Wall St. will do no good. You should be all for it, since it’s a way for the private sector to reward those doing well and punish those doing bad. It’s the best source of financing a companies growth ever conceived.

    You want to create jobs? Get everyone off their ass and doing something productive for their fellow citizens. Make online time wasters and pointless TV shows illegal. That is what the economy really is: what are we all doing for each other today?

  2. David Lauri March 3, 2010 / 10:55 am
    Yes, I suppose we are at war (although technically we’re not since Congress hasn’t passed any declaration of war), but 2010 America at war in Iraq and Afghanistan is not nearly the same as 1940s America in war in Europe and the Pacific.  Social and economic changes required in the 40s to support the war effort — converting factories across the nation from building consumer products to building arms, widespread drafting and voluntary enlistment to the armed services to fight the Nazis and the Japs, mass employment of women in the converted factories producing arms, etc., etc.  In 2010 it’s quite possible for Americans who don’t have friends or family members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to forget about the efforts there. The majority of Americans haven’t had to make any personal sacrifices for the war effort.
     
    So, no, I do not think that anything is possible in our current circumstances.  Even had you not messed up your chances to get on the ballot, I don’t think you’d have been able to get elected to Congress on a platform of stop tracking of stocks until unemployment falls to 7%. And if you had been able to get elected to Congress (although, if you had, we’d be talking about some bizarro alternate reality), I don’t think you’d be able to get over 70% of Congress to vote to tie suspension of trading on Wall Street to unemployment statistics.
     
    And “remember[ing] that in war time- anything is possible” wouldn’t even apply if we had “an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan,” which would mean we wouldn’t then be at war.
     
    Frankly now I think you’re unelectable even if you do manage to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s correctly in some future election.  All any future opponent of yours has to do now is point people to this blog post (or its cached version on archive.org should you ever take this post down).
  3. Dan March 3, 2010 / 12:28 pm
    I can’t imagine what kinds of chaos would result from the changes you’re proposing here.  One of the key features of a modern economy is consistency.  When the ‘rules’ for conducting business do a complete 180 it takes years to restore the trust in the system.
     
    For example look at Thailand’s recent troubles.  Thailand is falling behind it’s neighbors, after being a leading country in South-East Asia due to the instability of the regime there and investors lack of confidence in the rule of law.
     
    Clearly, something needs to be done, but shutting down Wall Street?  Suspending legal processes on foreclosures?  The resulting fallout would be a complete abandonment of confidence in the US economy and likely a recession/depression that makes this one look like a walk in the park.
  4. Robert Vigh March 3, 2010 / 12:59 pm
    Steps to fix unemployment:
    1) Kill the universal health care bills. It is essentially a regressive labor tax that some employers have frozen hiring until they understand their costs.
    2) Get rid of unemployment extensions. Shorten them, do not lengthen them.
    3) Lower minimum wage or drop it all together.
    That pretty much takes away the incentive to do nothing and takes away the law that prevents someone for working for an agreeable wage.
  5. David Esrati March 3, 2010 / 1:54 pm

    If you threaten the people playing with the supply of money- with taking away their playpen- or place limits on compensation,  until employment drops- you’ll see serious changes.

    Until then- as long as their millions are still safe- they won’t start looking at changing their ways.

    The US government can’t continue to pay for the sins of the rich and powerful who’ve manipulated this monopoly game. We’re going broke, unless you didn’t notice.

  6. Phil March 3, 2010 / 5:31 pm
    30days at least is start but the economy is no better no matter what numbers are in the media. Get outside and look and you can actually see. This needs to be got on immediately and do not wait till 30 days is over to start a bill to vote to extend it further. Get on your representatives to get this in asap so people do not have to go through this again. I am working but just part time and my employer has this notion they most businesses are going to start to do this also. If so this type of tactics will not allow people who work hard to make a living no matter what education you have. Also, I worked for a healthcare company I know what goes on in them if healhcare does not get reformed it is your fault do not listen to republicans hold the people accountable if they do not walk the walk. Insurance companies already conrol this country wactch how many adds are on TV.
  7. Brilliant March 5, 2010 / 11:31 am
    Where does it say the US Government must provide jobs for its citizens and if they dont have one we pay them benifits?  Robert had some good ideas, but lets go a step further and inact the ‘Fair Tax’ (the most researched and studied tax plan on record) not some flat tax or VAT.  Do the research and you will see that the ‘Fair Tax’ meets all your expectations. 

    @David – Shut Wall Street down?  What are you thinking?  Its not just the rich and powerful who invest.  What about everyone else who invests in the market?  Your plan attacks those who are saving and planning for their future.

    As for our leader?  We got who the US wanted and all that comes with him, right?

  8. David Esrati March 5, 2010 / 12:31 pm

    @Brilliant

    What am I thinking? I’m thinking that no one needs to be trading anything- or speculating- until we get unemployment under control. Having people cash out of their IRA’s at hugely depleted value just because the people running the casino cashed out is a crime.

    The other option is to eliminate all mutual funds- or stop the trading of them- forcing the churn to stop- and the focus to move back to actual investment. Also put requirements of dividend payment back into stock- no more valuation purely based on speculation.

    If you don’t see how high unemployment is devastating this country- you are missing the elephant in the living room.

  9. Robert Vigh March 5, 2010 / 1:21 pm
    David,
    I do not think anyone is missing the idea that unemployment is devastating to the country. We disagree on why we arrived to this point and how to fix it. You pointing out the obvious does not elevate the substance of your argument.
    For example: Setting a limit on compensation. I am a small business owner. I have just about hit my maximum capacity utilizing the labor that I have. I have to search for technological improvements to allow me to do more with what I have or hire someone else and train them for me to elevate the amount of money that I make. If I am at the limits of my compensation……….why would I hire someone else? This even applies to “publicly traded” companies, which I assure you are not public. Each asset owned by each shareholder was a choice to purchase and hold that piece of private property.
    Stopping all trading would essentially get alot of traders fired. It would lock up funds and reduce our service sector. None of these activities would have assurances to help unemployment. More likely, quite the opposite would occur.
    If you want to reduce unemployment, you only have to look at 2 things:
    1) Make it easier to hire people by lowering the cost and risk to do so, or at least making them known.
    2) Stop providing incentives for people that do not work. Incentives to work are currently competing with those same incentives not to work.
  10. David Esrati March 5, 2010 / 1:41 pm

    @Robert- this is a last ditch effort suggestion about halting trading.

    The reality is this wouldn’t affect your business at all. The Stock Market has a ridiculous impact on our economy, while valuing only a small subset of it. It’s time to switch the emphasis back to privately held companies dictating the markets- instead of the markets dictating the markets.

    I’ve never suggested limits on compensation at privately held companies like yours. What I am suggesting is reeling in the Wall Street Casino and the wild excesses.

  11. Bubba Jones March 5, 2010 / 2:32 pm
    David – I wonder sometimes if you really understand what a “public” company is???  These companies are still owned by PRIVATE individuals.  (Yeah, I know that they’re also owned by public employee pension funds, union pension funds, etc. But, the people in those funds WHO MAKE THE CHOICE TO INVEST THEIR MONEY IN THOSE FUNDS ARE STILL PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS!!)
     
    So, tell me how this brilliant idea of yours to stop trading on the public exchanges is going to help anyone?  Nothing you’ve said makes any sense.  I’m invested in various stocks and funds.  I’ll bet that Robert is too.  He and I are both business owners.  Under this “plan” that you’re proposing, if I want to hire a new employee or RV wants to buy a new piece of equipment, we (private citizens with free will) wouldn’t be ALLOWED to sell our shares anyone else in order to raise the capital necessary to expand??  WTF???
     
    Surely you know that it’s not just all “fat cats” that own stocks, bonds, funds, etc., right?
  12. David Esrati March 5, 2010 / 4:51 pm

    @Bubba- You don’t own shit in those companies. Your position is so small, you are like a pimple on a knats ass.

    The reality is, your stock isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on- yet, you continue to believe in it.

    The people who have you buy into this fantasy are busy collecting money on every trade- every tick up or down. I’ve said before- stock needs to treated like equity- you have to keep it for years, and share in the wealth. That means dividends- and stock price tied to performance.

    The reality is- that this level of “financing” is the same as the government issuing paper money- only, there is nothing truly behind it anymore.

    Without putting the brakes on this system that has siphoned off trillions of dollars from our economy (it went somewhere)- we’re doomed.

    It’s time to bring back accountability and risk to the market- for everyone. Right now, the CEO’s and trading houses are just stealing your money- while claiming to create value while actually destroying it.

    Wake up people. Bill Nuti ain’t worth $2k an hour.

  13. David Lauri March 5, 2010 / 5:02 pm
    Stop providing incentives for people that do not work. Incentives to work are currently competing with those same incentives not to work.
     
    Paul Krugman addresses this fallacy in his latest column.
     
    He notes that Senator Kyl of Arizona says, “continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”
     
    However, Krugman points out that the Congressional Budget Office disagrees with that belief, finding instead “that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay.”
     
    If you’re Jim Bunning or Jon Kyl or Robert Vigh, you believe that unemployed people are lazy and just not trying hard enough to find work.
     
    78 Senators (including 21 Republicans) disagree with that reasoning.
  14. Bubba Jones March 5, 2010 / 5:07 pm
    >>> @Bubba- You don’t own shit in those companies. Your position is so small, you are like a pimple on a knats ass. <<<
     
    David – I don’t need a lecture on the size of any equity position that might be held.  I’m fully aware of how minute a single share of stock in a Fortune 100 company is.  Please don’t talk down to me.  I haven’t done that to you and I expect the same respect.
     
    The R E A L I T Y is that the worthless piece of paper belongs to ME.  It’s MY PRIVATE PROPERTY.  It has a MARKET VALUE.  Your “proposal” would prohibit me from entering into any agreement to sell MY PRIVATE PROPERTY.  Again I say WTF?  Are you going to prohibit the sale of my house to a willing buyer?  What about my car?
     
    All I asked for was an explanation of how this would help anything and how can you justify prohibiting individuals from selling what’s legally theirs.  And,  since there is no justification for this position you resort to bullying and rhetoric.  So, here’s another chance to redeem yourself.  Explain away!
     
  15. Jesse March 5, 2010 / 6:16 pm
    David,
    Lets think about what we are saying.

    However, Krugman points out that the Congressional Budget Office disagrees with that belief, finding instead “that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay.

    This can only be taken to mean that their are NO effective forms of “economic stimulus”.  If this were true then the best thing you could do is fire more people so that they could receive unemployment payments.  It is a patently insane statement that exposes one of the giant fallacies involved in Keynesian Economic thought.  The problem is not the “lack of demand.”  The problem is historic over production caused by manipulation of the monetary supply.   The “textbooks” written by Krugman and his ilk are why we are in this mess.  Please see this analysis of sustainable and unsustainable debt.

  16. Robert Vigh March 5, 2010 / 9:35 pm
    @DL: I really hope you do not take Krugman at face value. Not only do I disagree with his logic self contained to that article, but I disagree with most of his work. He just stated himself as “moral” and “right” with no basis. I also disagree with Republicans. You also inaccurately state a belief on my behalf.
    I really try not to snipe at you, it would be very easy. But I admit, when you post basically nothing but a link to nothing and misrepresent me, I may write these posts a couple times to make sure they are fairly neutral.
    Krugman addresses nothing in his article. He states an opinion, one in which he loudly declares that he is a moral Democrat. He gives no evidence as to why and he states nothing that could possibly be a reasonable argument against him. You really dug deep that time DL.
     

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