Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Now it's just getting silly

Did you know that Pat Tiberi is proposing an amendment that is unlikely to gain widespread support to a bill in committee that would limit Unemployment Benefit extension to 18 states that meet an arbitrary formula?

A Certain Dispatch Reporter thinks you should.

By the way, although I sympathize with Pat's difficulty in trying to get both sides of his mouth working simultaneously (less spending is good except when more spending is good), I must admit that I'm taken aback by his apparent loss of ability to think of people as people, and not a collection of faceless aggregate labels. Pat says extending the unemployment benefits (of those who have run out of or are in danger of running out of benefits before being able to find a job) should depend on which state you live in, and:

“This measure would reach the hardest hit workers first by using a targeted approach, not by using a blanket unemployment benefit extension like other proposals, making it pro-worker and pro-taxpayer,”

Find me a person who has been out of work for 6 months in a state where unemployment is "only" 4.7% (note: either Pat's staff or J.R. is apparently unable to read, as the same source that gives Ohio's unemployment as 5.3% has U.S. unemployment at 4.8%, not the 5.1% reported in the Daily Briefing piece), and let me listen to you explain to them that they have not personally been hit as hard as someone out of work in a state where unemployment is at 4.9% . Put in another way, this proposal means a hiring boom in Cincy could make NEO workers ineligible for relief. Because somehow hiring an IKEA salesperson in Butler County would lessen the impact of unemployment on the family of a cable installer in Youngstown.

What Pat meant was that his proposal would target the hardest hit arbitrarily defined aggregate masses of people, making it pro-arbitrary aggregate mass, rather than pro-worker. After a while in D.C., I'm sure it's tough to remember the difference.

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