Monday, July 12, 2010

Deficit hawkery: It's just a political game

I don't usually do this; I usually try for, if not originality, at least added value on this blog. But here I'm just going to reproduce a cogent statement from the wise Meteor Blades that lays out why Republicans (and dumb Democratic elites) are blocking all efforts to mitigate economic pain these days.

Foes of extending unemployment benefits keep spouting two excuses. First, benefits create hobos, layabouts who enjoy spending every day watching cable, drinking six-packs of brew and luxuriating on an average $315 a week instead of looking for a job. For a three-person family, that comes in at $16,380 a year, a couple of grand below the poverty line. Cushy, eh? The second excuse, which we've been barraged with for weeks, is that America cannot afford another extension because of the federal deficit. Between now and November, the extension would cost $33 billion.

These excuses are mere cover for what Republicans who have blocked the extension really want – to make life hard as possible until November. This, they believe, despite their disgraceful record at holding out-of-work Americans hostage to their ideology, will somehow give them cachet to trash the Democrats. And for what? For failing to achieve economically what Republicans have done everything in their power to keep them from achieving. They take their leader Rush Limbaugh seriously.

Paul Krugman describes them as "the coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused." Right on the first count. But unconvincing on the second two. The heartless are neither clueless nor confused. They have a clear-headed agenda: economic terrorism. They're the real-life version of Saw. And their shameless goal is straightforward: worsen the economic situation for millions of Americans' in hopes of scoring more seats in Congress so they can cause even more damage to people's lives.