Tuesday, March 2, 2010

procrastinate, try to put in on a stressed credit card-- and then blame Jim Bunning when he takes a stand

Jim Bunning was top-of-the-fold front-page news in the C-J-- today and Saturday-- for his principled stand against extending federal unemployment benefits without a plan to pay for it.

I haven't heard anyone talk about this. But Bunning's "parliamentary move" is within the rules because the Congress did not act on this in a timely manner. So, the Congress procrastinated and then gets upset at Bunning for not going along for the ride. This reminds me of hypothetical students who procrastinate and then blame-shift.

There are many reasons to oppose federal unemployment benefits:
-the ethical difficulties in taking money from employed people to give to unemployed people; -the practical difficulties in discouraging productive behavior and subsidizing/encouraging unemployment;
-the question of why such benefits would be provided by the federal vs. state governments; and
-the issue raised by Bunning (how to pay for this in a time of bloated budgets and budget debt).

A letter-writer in the C-J this AM accused Bunning of playing politics-- and that is most certainly not the case. In fact, the usual thing is precisely to play politics with such things, by spending the money and looking the other way. Good for Bunning-- even if he hasn't delivered it well-- in taking a principled stand. We need more of that in government!

The measure closes $29 billion of tax loopholes to help defray its cost, including one enjoyed by paper companies that get a credit from burning "black liquor," a pulp-making byproduct, as if it were an alternative fuel.


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