Thursday, May 22, 2014
Thanks For the Mail, Alison!
I have a letter from Alison "Who's Your Daddy" Grimes. She sent it by mistake, but no matter. The good news is that Alison has cleaned up her grammar. She no longer boasts, "I don't scare easy." Now she boasts "I don't scare easily." Hooray! Alison has mastered the distinction between an adjective and an adverb. Thata girl!
Now if only she could master the distinction between unemployment benefits and welfare.
Grimes complains that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voted not to "Extend unemployment benefits in the wake of the Recession." She points to votes on March 10, 2010, April 15, 2010, and July 20, 2010.
It is fascinating that Grimes describes these dates, particularly the last one, as the "wake of the Recession." Grimes has forgotten that Obama decreed 2010 as the Recovery Summer. Not that it's been much of a recovery. To the contrary -- many Americans remain underemployed, working multiple part-time jobs, and jobs for which they are overqualified. Many other Americans have simply given up looking. These people, more than any other, need the opportunity that only comes from a growing economy and an infusion of new jobs from new businesses.
At first blush, extending unemployment seems compassionate. But to keep extending it -- over and over, literally year after year -- is disingenuous. At some point, unemployment ceases to be a temporary aid to pay bills while between jobs. At some point, it is no longer unemployment, but rather welfare hiding under a different name.
The distinction matters for several reasons. Using the correct word matters. Democrats like Obama, Harry Reid and Grimes are prone to obfuscate the debate by using the wrong word (think "fetus" for "baby"). According to Democrat lore, Bill Clinton abolished "welfare as we know it." It is his big claim to fame (well, maybe his second).
Heaven knows we Kentuckians will be subjected to lots of Clinton visits to help Grimes, daughter of their buddy Jerry Lundergan. These visits will attempt to make us wax poetic for the Clinton years and the Clinton economy. That nostalgia hinges on Clinton having "abolished" welfare. The problem for Grimes is that to the extent that Clinton "abolished" welfare, Obama brought it roaring back.
Whether characterized as welfare or as unemployment benefits extended ad infinitum, the extension never addressed the root of the problem of why so many Americans remain unemployed for so long. The main reason: Obamacare.
While the Democrats tried to buy Americans off, McConnell was attempting to address Obamacare, the obstacle to a true recovery. Recall that when Democrats shoved Obamacare down America's throat that Christmas Eve, McConnell held together a Republican caucus that spans the spectrum from Olympia Snow to Ted Cruz; not a single Republican voted for Obamacare. Consequently, Democrats -- including Grimes's party Leaders Reid, Obama and Pelosi -- own it. And they own the consequences, including the stagnant job growth.
Sen. Rand Paul explained that at some point, extending unemployment benefits actually does a disservice to the recipients, because it causes them to become a part of a permanent class of unemployed; the unemployment benefits become a disincentive to employment.
In complaining about McConnell's votes, Grimes never tells us, is there ever a point at which she would vote against extending unemployment benefits? Ever? Can there never be a cut-off? If not, she is every bit as rigid, obstructionist and ideological as she accuses McConnell of being.
Grimes never addresses the fact that America borrows 40 cents of every dollar of unemployment benefits from the Chinese. That is no longer just fiscally irresponsible, but a threat to our national security. At the very least, an extension of unemployment benefits should be matched with a cut in spending. McConnell understands that. Grimes, apparently, does not. McConnell's vote was a sober, adult, courageous response to a bad situation caused by an inept and profligate administration, one that very much wants to see Grimes win.