I’ve spent a while reading statements from various right-wing politicians – Rand Paul being one of the more prominent – that extended unemployment benefits are a bad thing. You see they may increase the deficit, and (gasp!) they may cause people to put off taking low-level, low-paid jobs! There seems to be two major core assumptions: That the extension of the benefits decreases people’s willingness to look for work; and that there are plenty of jobs available, if only those lazy unemployed would just take them. To back up their case, they’ll come up with an apocryphal business owner whose minimum wage jobs are just going begging, because the unemployed won’t take them.
Tag Archives: rant
Late yesterday, it was announced that a deal had been struck between Iran, the United States, and 5 other world powers to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the White House, the deal stipulates that Iran will commit to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent and also to neutralize its stockpile of near-20 percent enriched uranium. The Islamic Republic has also committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity. Iran will also halt work at its plutonium reactor and provide access to nuclear inspectors.
In exchange, the United States and its allies have agreed to offer Iran “modest relief” from economic sanctions and access to a portion of the revenue that the country has been denied through these sanctions. No new sanctions will be imposed, Obama said.
It’s a first step, and more will need to be done, but it’s a breakthrough after a very long time. Then the Republicans had to chime in.
One of the things I’ve been seeing in the news media, particularly stoked by various conservatives, is that the problems with the Healthcare.gov website means that the Affordable Care Act is bad. Obviously, one is the same as the other, or at least they’d like you to think so. One is a website, the other is a law. But since it’s tough – you know, to report real facts – to grasp, particularly when your level of understanding of technology amounts to “press button, get a cookie!”, they’d rather just keep going with that. In an effort to be helpful, I thought I’d give them some more examples they can use for their “total failure” conflation.
What always manages to astonish me about various “politically aware” people is their failure to recognize that there’s an election every year in many parts of this country. They seem to believe that only the presidential election years matter, or if they’re stretching a bit, the even year House races. Yet it’s the “off year” elections that have more impact on people’s daily lives which are ignored. This year, many states are having their local elections. We’re going to be selecting mayors, and town and county officials, along with (in some states) judges. Various propositions will be on ballots, which will impact your local and state taxes as well as its direction. All the things which you tend to take for granted: Street lights on; road plowed; water and sewer systems work; police and fire departments are there; and what the schools are like will all be determined by who gets elected.
Back a little over a decade ago, I was one of the people who did not support the Bush Administration’s determination to attack Iraq. Why? Well, yes, Saddam Hussein had at one time used chemical weapons against his own people, but had by numerous accounts gotten rid of them after Desert Storm. There were a lot of questionable assertions being made, and most notably, that it was principally the Bush administration who was making them. Most of our allies, and other interested players were saying “No, no sign of them now.” Add in that it would take the focus off of Afghanistan, that Iraq was “contained” and not a serious factor in the Middle East, and it was – at least to me – a “bad idea.”