Tag Archives: economy

Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study | The Raw Story

Interesting article from RawStory.com…

This supports observations I’ve made during my life as I’ve moved around and been around different people in different places in different socio-economic positions…

I think the American Class System is in danger of becoming as entrenched as the British Class System.  It’s just occurring so quietly people aren’t realizing doors are closing and ceilings are lowering…

 

People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world, according to research recently published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

The authors of the study said the findings have important, but overlooked, implications for public policy.

“Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” said Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley, who cowrote the article with Michael W. Kraus of UC-San Francisco and Paul K. Piff of UC-Berkeley.

“I think our studies are saying the opposite: This is a profound part of who we are.”

A study published in Psychological Science in November, for instance, found that people of upper-class status have trouble recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. People of lower-class status do a much better job.

“What I think is really interesting about that is, it kind of shows there’s all this strength to the lower class identity: greater empathy, more altruism, and finer attunement to other people,” Keltner said.

“One clear policy implication is, the idea of nobless oblige or trickle-down economics, certain versions of it, is bull,” Keltner added. “Our data say you cannot rely on the wealthy to give back. The ‘thousand points of light’—this rise of compassion in the wealthy to fix all the problems of society—is improbable, psychologically.”

Those in the upper-class tend to hoard resources and be less generous than they could be.

But the differences between people of upper and lower-classes seems to be the product of the cultural environment, not ingrained traits. Studies have found that as people rise in the classes, they become less empathetic.

Keltner speculates that people of lower-classes are more empathetic because they need to rely on others more often to be successful. Those who can’t afford daycare service for their children, for example, turn to neighbors or relatives to watch the kids.

“If you don’t have resources and education, you really adapt to the environment, which is more threatening, by turning to other people,” he explained. “People who grow up in lower-class neighborhoods, as I did, will say,’ There’s always someone there who will take you somewhere, or watch your kid. You’ve just got to lean on people.’”

via Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study | The Raw Story.

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The shocking truth about the birthplace of Obama’s policies – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post

Great article from Ezra Klein in The Washington Post…

He points out that the positions President Obama and the Democrats are taking are the same positions the Republicans once had…

Shows how far to the Right everything in Washington has moved over the last couple of years…

If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a health-care plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal coverage; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans staked out in the early ’90s — and often, well into the 2000s.

via The shocking truth about the birthplace of Obama’s policies – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post.

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Daily Kos: Introducing the People’s Budget

Now, we’re talking…

This is the kind of budget I could really support!

From DailyKos:

One of the complaints the progressive blogosphere commonly levels against the Democratic leadership in DC is about negotiating strategy. Generally, the complaint is that the Democratic leadership in Congress and in the White House make opening bids that are already compromises, which results in final legislative deals skewing further to the right than necessary. Perhaps the most frequent specific example of this complaint is that Democrats in Congress should have started the health care debate by proposing a single-payer plan, and might have ended up with a public option in the final bill as a result.

Whether or not you agree with that complaint in either the general or the specific, if it is applied to the budget fight the Democratic leadership in DC should have started with The People’s Budget (PDF), which the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced today. It’s a budget that produces a surplus by 2021 without cutting services for the poor and middle-class. It thus provides a stark contrast with the recent proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, and a left-flank to the principles outlined by President Obama.

Here’s a general overview of the People’s Budget:

Reduces unemployment—and thus the deficit—through extensive investment in infrastructure, clean energy, transportation and education;

Ends almost all the Bush tax cuts, creates new tax brackets for millionaires and enacting new fees on Wall Street;

Full American military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other reductions in military spending;

Ends subsidies for non-renewable energy;

Lowers health care costs by enacting a public option and negotiating Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies;

Raises the taxable maximum income for Social Security Withholding

via Daily Kos: Introducing the People’s Budget.

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12 Tax-Dodging Corporations Spent $1 Billion To Influence Washington Over The Last Decade

I’m glad people are starting to call this out…

The question is, will it do any good?

Or have they already bought the government….

From ThinkProgress.org:

A new report by Public Campaign examines how these major corporations have influenced Congress to craft a tax code that lets them get away with making so much money and paying so little taxes in return. In its report, “The Artful Dodgers,” Public Campaign juxtaposes the limited tax liability of dozen major corporations with the companies’ campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures, which amount to more than a billion dollars over the last decade:

EXXON MOBIL: The oil giant that was the world’s most profitable corporation in 2008 has spent $5.7 million in campaign contributions over the last ten years and $138 million in lobbying expenditures. Its federal corporate income tax liabilities for 2009? Absolutely nothing. Not only did it pay nothing, but it also received a tax rebate the same year of $156 million.

CHEVRON: Chevron spent $4.4 million in campaign contributions and $91 million in lobbying expenditures over the last decade. It received a tax refund of $19 million in 2009 while making $10 billion in profits and $324 million in government contracts in 2008.

CONOCOPHILLIPS: The Texas-based gasoline giant spent $2.5 million in campaign contributions and $63 million in lobbying expenditures over the last decade. It received “$451 million through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction,” a special tax break, between 2007 and 2009, despite $16 billion in profits over the same period of time.

VALERO ENERGY: Valero spent $4.1 million in campaign contributions and $4.8 million in lobbying expenditures from 2001 to 2010. It received a $157 million tax rebate in 2009 despite $68 billion in sales during the same year. It received “$134 million through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction” over the last three years.

BANK OF AMERICA: Bank of America employees contributed $11 million to federal political campaigns from 2001 to 2010 and spent $24 million lobbying over the same period of time. It made $4.4 billion in profits in 2010 while receiving a tax refund of $1.9 billion.

CITIGROUP: Citigroup employees contributed $15 million to federal political campaigns from 2001 to 2010 and spent $62 million lobbying over the same period of time. It made $4 billion in profits in 2010 while paying absolutely nothing in federal corporate income taxes. It also received a $1.9 billion tax refund.

GOLDMAN SACHS: The mega-bank Goldman Sachs, which is often called “Government Sachs” in insider circles because of its clout over Washington, spent $22 million in campaign contributions and $21 million in lobbying over the last decade. It paid an ultra-low tax rate of 1.1 percent in 2008, while also receiving $800 billion in governmentloans to help weather the financial crisis.

BOEING: The aviation and defense contractor giant gave $10 million in contributions and $115 million in lobbying expenditures over the last decade. It paid a grand total of nothing in federal corporate income taxes in 2010 and received a $124 million tax refund.

FEDEX: FedEx spent $8.7 million in campaign contributions and $71 million in lobbying expenditures from 2001 to 2010. It paid a .0005 percent effective tax rate recently, actually spending 42 times as much on lobbying Congress as it did paying taxes. To do this it utilizes 21 tax havens.

CARNIVAL: The cruise line paid $1.7 million in campaign contributions and $1.6 million in lobbying over the past ten years. Despite the relatively low amount of money it spent influencing Washington, it has gotten away with a super-low tax rate. Over the past five years, its federal corporate income tax rate has been an effective 1.1 percent.

VERIZON: Verizon spent $12 million in campaign contributions and $131 million in lobbying expenditures over the past decade. It paid absolutely nothing in federal corporate income taxes over the past two years and $488 million in government contracts in 2008; in 2010, it made $12 billion in profits.

GENERAL ELECTRIC: General Electric spent $13 million in campaign contributions and $205 million in lobbying expenditures over the last decade while netting a tax refund of $4.1 billion over the past five years. It made $26 billion in profits over the same time period.

The amount of money that taxpayers are losing from the tax dodging by these major corporations is enormous. For example, if five of the nation’s biggest banks paid their taxes at the full rate, we could re-hire every single one of the 132,000 teachers laid off during the recession — twice.

via ThinkProgress » 12 Tax-Dodging Corporations Spent $1 Billion To Influence Washington Over The Last Decade.

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ThinkProgress » CBO: Budget Deal Cuts ‘Less Than 1 Percent’ Of The $38.5 Billion Claimed

This story is getting more and more interesting…

It seems Washington has learned some accounting tricks from Hollywood…

From ThinkProgress.org:

Republicans and President Obama have been hailing last week’s shutdown-averting government funding deal as the “largest spending cut in history,” but as details about the package emerged, analysts realized that deal’s supporters were greatly overselling the purported $38.5 billion in cuts. And today, the Congressional Budget Office finds that the deal would shave just $352 million from the deficit in the next six months — “less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in claimed savings,” the AP reports:

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would pare just $352 million from the deficit through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending. […]

The CBO study confirms that the measure trims $38 billion in new spending authority, but many of the cuts come in slow-spending accounts like water-and-sewer grants that don’t have an immediate deficit impact.

While the CBO study lends credence to the theory that President Obama slyly deflected the worst of the cuts, the fact remains that the cuts will be harmful to the economy and to the people who depend on valuable social safety net programs that will have their budgets cut. Moreover, as the Wonk Room’s Ben Armbruster explains, the deal also leaves defense spending largely untouched. So while the deal cuts domestic social spending, much of these savings are wiped out by inflated defense spending.

via ThinkProgress » CBO: Budget Deal Cuts ‘Less Than 1 Percent’ Of The $38.5 Billion Claimed.

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Even Goldman Sachs sees danger in US budget cuts

Cutting deficits in a recovering economy just isn’t economically smart…

This is a sure way to slow growth and possibly drive the economy into a double dip recession.

However, that’s what the Republicans really want…

If the economy stalls, it theoretically increases the odds they can beat President Obama in 2012 and pick up more seats in the House and Senate.

That’s the real game plan- not cutting spending or growing jobs.

The GOP really couldn’t care less about either….

The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned.

The note from Alec Phillips, a forecaster based in Washington, was seized in the ongoing US budget fight by Democrats as validating their argument that the legislation approved by the Republican-led House of Representatives last Saturday would do significant damage to the US recovery.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, said: “This nonpartisan study proves that the House Republicans’ proposal is a recipe for a double-dip recession. Just as the economy is beginning to pick up a little steam, the Republican budget would snuff out any chance of recovery. This analysis puts a dagger through the heart of their ‘cut-and-grow’ fantasy”.

The Goldman analysis also points out that a potential compromise deal with $25bn in spending reductions this year – a more likely scenario – would lead to a smaller drag on growth of 1 percentage point in the second quarter.

via FT.com / US / Economy & Fed – Goldman sees danger in US budget cuts.

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My Thoughts: Why Politics Matter

I’m tired of people saying Politics doesn’t matter and tuning out of the Political process.  Not only is this an abdication of responsibility, it’s stupid.

Politics does matter and the votes taken in various elected bodies do impact everyone’s  life.

In fact, Political decisions impact almost every aspect of day-to-day life.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Drafting young men during the Vietnam War was a political decision as was ending the Draft.
  2. Going to War with Iraq and Afghanistan was a political decision.
  3. Creating Social Security and Medicare was a political decision.  Destroying them could be, too.
  4. Ending Slavery was a political decision.
  5. Granting Women the right to Vote was a political decision.
  6. How much money your hometown gets for roads and economic development is a political decision.
  7. The books and curriculum used to educate your children in public schools is a political decision.
  8. Financial Aid for College is a political decision.
  9. Whether or not you can park your car in your yard or put a ratty sofa on your front porch is a political decision.
  10. How much you pay in property, sales and income taxes are a political decision.
  11. Whether your food is safe and how this safety is assured is a political decision.
  12. Whether you have adequate Health Care is a Political decision.

These are just a few impacts off the top of my head.  So when I hear people say they aren’t voting or that one side is as bad as the other, or that it just doesn’t matter, it pisses me off.

Admittedly, I am passionate about this…I used to work in Politics and spent a good deal of time in Washington and Richmond.  I have been “behind the curtain.”  I’ve smoked cigarettes over cocktails at the Congressional Club with now Speaker John Boehner and ridden the back roads of Virginia with Senator John Warner.  I know neither side is perfect and I well know how the “other side”-for whom I used to work- manipulates the process and puts out false information.  I’ve seen the decline in civility by both sides and made my well-known choice.

I came to the conclusion that the Republicans look backwards with fear while the Democrats look forward with hope.  I’ve also reached the conclusion the Republicans cater to the wealthy and Corporate elite- as do the Democrats to a lesser degree.  This is an informed, fact-based decision I made as part of my personal journey.  You can disagree with me, but you can’t call me uniformed or accuse me of not thoroughly examining the issues to reach my decisions.

I also think we have a moral obligation in America to ensure our elected officials don’t forget the poor, the sick, the hungry, the elderly, college students hungry for learning but limited in funds and the homeless.  I think one of the main purposes of government is to ensure we have safe, reliable transportations– by road, by air and most urgently by train.  I think the government should level the playing field by allowing those who are born to less have the same opportunities as those who are born with more.  I think the government should ensure our food supply is safe, but not over burden local growers.  I think a lot of things…

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect them to be involved and to make fact-based decisions.  I can respect that…

I can’t respect people who tune out facts or don’t do their own due diligence.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Several Elections have been decided recently based on just a few votes difference.
  2. When given the facts, more people support the policies of the Democratic party, but more Republicans vote.
  3. Not voting for the Legislative branch of Government impacts the Executive and Judicial Branches.  Elected officials appoint and approve Supreme Court justices. Sometimes Judges decide Elections.  It’s all connected.
  4. When you vote, you have an obligation to know what the person you are voting for really stands for- not that they are the cutest or most telegenic or that you just know their name or Party.

For Democracy to work, you must have an informed, active electorate.  I hope people are paying attention to what is going on in Washington, the State Houses and the Supreme Court.  These decisions do matter and do impact your lives.

The Elites count on people being confused, misinformed and lazy when-and if- they vote.  It’s up to us to prove them wrong.  We haven’t done a great job the last year or so…

I may be dreaming, but here are a few things that I think would help rectify the situation:

  1. Get the big money out of politics.  Block Corporate donations and self-financing wealthy candidates by leveling the playing field.  Move to Public Financing of Elections with each qualifying Candidate having the same amount of money to spend.
  2. Require the Television and Radio stations to run an equal amount of adds for each qualifying candidate and/or Political Party.  Remember, the airwaves are Public Property that is leased to the media.  We need to make them do their civic duty and not just profit off a broken system.
  3. The media needs to do its job and check facts and call attention to mis-representations of facts- and lies- by all Candidates, Politicians and Parties.  I would love to re-implement the Fairness Doctrine- if for no other reason to put Fox News out of business- but that is impractical.
  4. Separate News from Entertainment.  The line has blurred too much….
  5. End Corporate monopolies of the Media.  Limit the number of media outlets that any one Corporation can own.
  6. Encourage people to check the facts on reputable web sites and from other non-mainstream media sources.  Form non-partisan grass-roots groups to educate them on how to do it…
  7. Enforce the Separation of Church and State.  Churches and Religious organizations who become involved in Politics should lose their tax exempt status.
  8. Encourage the growth of Third-and Fourth- Parties by making it easier for their candidates to get on the ballot and have appropriate funding.
  9. Require a fixed number of debates for all offices.  Don’t let politicians hide behind adds.  Put the public and media spot light on them all.
  10. End the revolving door between elected officials and lobbyists.  Elected Officials should not be able to lobby their former colleagues.  This is how the  insider Boys Club perpetuates itself.
  11. Develop and enforce ethics rules at all levels of Government.  With real, still penalties and not slaps on the hands.  Independent boards should manage inquiries and not political cronies.
  12. In Politics, just like in other areas of life, we need to encourage civility and reasonable debate- not encourage blood sport and boorish behavior.
  13. Make it easier to vote.  We need to find a secure way to vote via the internet.  We need to extend and expand early voting.
  14. We need to be confident all voting machines are secure and not subject to manipulation.
  15. Focus on encouraging more voters, not suppressing voters.

We need to encourage people to pay attention by restoring trust in the media and elected officials who represent the Public Trust.

This is not a game.

It is not a reality TV show.

Bottom Line:  Get serious, people!

Discuss among yourselves….

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Downhill with the G.O.P? Or How to Make the USA a Banana Republic

I’m going to run Paul Krugman’s latest column, below, in it’s entirety.  It’s too important to run the  risk some folks might not click the link and read it all.

Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning Economist who has been right in just about every economic point/scenario he has made.   He has accurately called out both the President and his Administration as well as the Republicans and Democrats in Congress for their short sidedness and trend toward political expediency.

Unfortunately, Congress and the President ignore him because his historically proven points aren’t politically popular.

Once upon a time, a Latin American political party promised to help motorists save money on gasoline. How? By building highways that ran only downhill.

I’ve always liked that story, but the truth is that the party received hardly any votes. And that means that the joke is really on us. For these days one of America’s two great political parties routinely makes equally nonsensical promises. Never mind the war on terror, the party’s main concern seems to be the war on arithmetic. And this party has a better than even chance of retaking at least one house of Congress this November.

Banana republic, here we come.

On Thursday, House Republicans released their “Pledge to America,” supposedly outlining their policy agenda. In essence, what they say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.” The document repeatedly condemns federal debt — 16 times, by my count. But the main substantive policy proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which independent estimates say would add about $3.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade — about $700 billion more than the Obama administration’s tax proposals.

True, the document talks about the need to cut spending. But as far as I can see, there’s only one specific cut proposed — canceling the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Republicans claim (implausibly) would save $16 billion. That’s less than half of 1 percent of the budget cost of those tax cuts. As for the rest, everything must be cut, in ways not specified — “except for common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and the defense budget are off-limits.

So what’s left? Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

The “pledge,” then, is nonsense. But isn’t that true of all political platforms? The answer is, not to anything like the same extent. Many independent analysts believe that the Obama administration’s long-run budget projections are somewhat too optimistic — but, if so, it’s a matter of technical details. Neither President Obama nor any other leading Democrat, as far as I can recall, has ever claimed that up is down, that you can sharply reduce revenue, protect all the programs voters like, and still balance the budget.

And the G.O.P. itself used to make more sense than it does now. Ronald Reagan’s claim that cutting taxes would actually increase revenue was wishful thinking, but at least he had some kind of theory behind his proposals. When former President George W. Bush campaigned for big tax cuts in 2000, he claimed that these cuts were affordable given (unrealistic) projections of future budget surpluses. Now, however, Republicans aren’t even pretending that their numbers add up.

So how did we get to the point where one of our two major political parties isn’t even trying to make sense?

The answer isn’t a secret. The late Irving Kristol, one of the intellectual godfathers of modern conservatism, once wrote frankly about why he threw his support behind tax cuts that would worsen the budget deficit: his task, as he saw it, was to create a Republican majority, “so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.” In short, say whatever it takes to gain power. That’s a philosophy that now, more than ever, holds sway in the movement Kristol helped shape.

And what happens once the movement achieves the power it seeks? The answer, presumably, is that it turns to its real, not-so-secret agenda, which mainly involves privatizing and dismantling Medicare and Social Security.

Realistically, though, Republicans aren’t going to have the power to enact their true agenda any time soon — if ever. Remember, the Bush administration’s attack on Social Security was a fiasco, despite its large majority in Congress — and it actually increased Medicare spending.

So the clear and present danger isn’t that the G.O.P. will be able to achieve its long-run goals. It is, rather, that Republicans will gain just enough power to make the country ungovernable, unable to address its fiscal problems or anything else in a serious way. As I said, banana republic, here we come.

So the clear and present danger isn’t that the G.O.P. will be able to achieve its long-run goals. It is, rather, that Republicans will gain just enough power to make the country ungovernable, unable to address its fiscal problems or anything else in a serious way. As I said, banana republic, here we come.

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Paying the Price – NYTimes.com

An excerpt from another great column from Bob Herbert in the New York Times.  Link to full column is at the bottom…

People feel that the country is going to hell, that the system itself has broken down, and President Obama and the Democrats have been unable to assuage that awful feeling. The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders can point to a long string of legislative accomplishments — passage of a health insurance overhaul, financial reform, a stimulus package that may have been misshapen and too small but nevertheless helped stave off a worse economic disaster, and so on.

But voters do not feel that the administration and Congress have delivered the fundamental change they were seeking when they swept President Obama and huge Democratic majorities into office nearly two years ago. Forget about the crazies in the Tea Party for the moment. Forget about the ugly Republican obstructionism that is based on the idea that the failure not just of President Obama but of American society itself is the G.O.P.’s quickest ticket back to power.

Forget about that for a moment. The Democrats are in deep, deep trouble because they have not effectively addressed the overwhelming concern of working men and women: an economy that is too weak to provide the jobs they need to support themselves and their families. And that failure is rooted in the Democrats’ continued fascination with the self-serving conservative belief that the way to help ordinary people is to shower money on the rich and wait for the blessings to trickle down to the great unwashed below.

It was a bogus concept when George H.W. Bush denounced it as “voodoo economics” in 1980, and it remains bogus today, no matter how hard the Democrats try to dress it up in a donkey costume.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Paying the Price – NYTimes.com.

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Punishing the Unemployed – NYTimes.com

The latest from Paul Krugman about how our “leaders” in Washington are failing to do their job to help the long-term unemployed.  They seem to forget these folks are unemployed and still can’t get a job  as a result of the Republican mismanagement of the economy and the GOP lead  deregulation of the financial markets that led to the financial crisis causing all this pain.

Here is a sample:

There was a time when everyone took it for granted that unemployment insurance, which normally terminates after 26 weeks, would be extended in times of persistent joblessness. It was, most people agreed, the decent thing to do.

But that was then. Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with five job seekers for every job opening, with the average spell of unemployment now at 35 weeks. Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused. Nothing can be done about the first group, and probably not much about the second. But maybe it’s possible to clear up some of the confusion.

By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do — including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain — improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

Now, I don’t have the impression that unemployed Americans are spoiled; desperate seems more like it. One doubts, however, that any amount of evidence could change Ms. Angle’s view of the world — and there are, unfortunately, a lot of people in our political class just like her

Here is the link to the full column:

Op-Ed Columnist – Punishing the Unemployed – NYTimes.com.

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