SCENES FROM THE NEW ECONOMY

I could not devise a way to combine these two items so today will be a rare post in Standard Blog Style, i.e. a buffet of unrelated links.

1. From Mike, tangential to Tuesday's gun post: Legislation ("Supported by the National Rifle Association!!") has been introduced in the House to exempt guns from bankruptcy proceedings. I have to give them credit for putting some thought into the still-ludicrous rationale; allowing banks to repossess our guns would deprive us of our (newly extant) God-given right to protect ourselves. I support this legislation. Sure, they can take your home, your car, your life savings, and everything you've ever worked for in your life, but JP Morgan will be legally required to leave you a fair chance to blow your brains out, start a criminal career, or murder a family member under the stress of your disintegrating lifestyle. Congress is always looking out for the little guy.

2. Confederate Yankee has long been one of the dumbest sources of misspelled, grammatically tortured right wing spittle on the interwebs, but the guy managed to top himself with his musings on the Senate proposal to extend unemployment benefits:

(prominent liberal bloggers) moan and wail because it appears a Republican filibuster may finally end the unending unemployment gravy train…The filibuster has support because Republicans and Nelson understand that you can't keep plunging the country further into debt and expect to climb out of a recession. By stopping unemployment benefits, the Senate will force those lazy Americans enjoying "funemployment" to get off their backsides and get back to work.

I was going to FJM this, but it is some new, advanced kind of rhetorical technology. It is self-mocking. Let's try to think of all of the things that are more fun than being unemployed and, for the rare unemployed people who qualify, reaping poverty-level financial benefits for a couple of months. This won't take long because the correct answer is NOTHING. Nothing is more fun than Funemployment!!

Read the whole thing if you like bad arguments. It is the fucking Comstock Lode of anecdotal evidence.

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21 Responses to “SCENES FROM THE NEW ECONOMY”

  1. Crazy for Urban Planning Says:

    Fuck I hate being unemployed. I know, I know, I want to work for the government; I must be a collectivist, fascist, bureaucratic, communist, usurper from Kenya. These jerks would say I'm afraid of real work or I'm un-American or some such baloney for not wanting to work in the private sector. I would reply that I've sent dozens of resumes to consultancy firms dealing with land use planning and transportation for months, they never even send me an email telling me they received – the private sector doesn't operate as pleasantly as the public does… Well, the public sector isn't perfect to job applicants either. I'm getting bogged down in this – the point is I want to have a job more than I can say – I'm embarrassed every morning when I wake up – jobs don't exactly fall off trees anymore. I'm not sure if I'm doing enough to look for these planning positions, but I search the Internets and volunteer with projects related to planning, it stinks and it makes me feel like I stink too. Pardon me for a post after 2 glasses of wine.

  2. ZenPoseur Says:

    The NRA, having basically won the war on gun control, now seeks more and more absurd crusades with which to justify its existence.

  3. Nunya Says:

    To Crazy for Urban Planning – This may mean little to you now but this period will pass. You will find employment, however unfulfilling and sooner than you think. Your attitude depends on it, however. I always remember a quote to whom I cannot credit "When times are good, we think they'll never end and when times are bad we think they will never end." The truth is, of course, that they do. While in periods of idleness, try to think what you would do on a sabatical and make them happen. You know you may never receive another one.

    To the ignorant who think unemployment is such a sweet gig, let me describe my situation of 2001 during the last recession: Try taking a 75% pay cut with the same obligations you had the day before and tell me how high on the hog you are living. While endlessly searching for a new job while wondering how you're going to maintain a semblance of employability amidst the constant financial strain that looms every day. Unemployment insurance is an absolute minimum level of subsistence and is, in no way, some sort of fucking vacation. I'd wish the experience on these bastards but I know it will come soon enough.

  4. party with tina Says:

    You shouldn't wish ill on people, Nunya, politics, tho' they are heated, in the manner in which you and other writers engage are just a means of expressing ones opinions. And everyone essentially wants a Utopia. Blame politicians.

    I was reading a while back how everyone dehumanizes the political spectrum. The left views corporations as greedy inhuman machines hell-bent on destroying freedom/the environment/etc, the exact same way right wingers view the Government. While both of them are run by people who, despite their affluence, lead essentially the same life as you. Ups and downs, family problems, stress, etc. The article I read talked about how Carl Rove is well known for leaving waitresses $100 tips, and donates a nice chunk to charity, but on the flip side won't support social legislation that is intended to aid the same people he has partially committed to.

    I may disagree with you, but I don't hope you up and die so my political ends are met by there being one less constituent for spreading your evil views, or something.

    Even though Urban is clearly a communist conspirator hell-bent on destroying the very foundation of America. He is a guy who wants to work, who can't find a job.. that fucking sucks. I empathize with that. Same I empathize with people who want more money to put into their households, and scorn taxes.

    It's hard out there for a pimp.

  5. Monkey Business Says:

    We don't need gun control in this country. We need bullet control. A gun can't kill anyone, unless you pistol-whip the shit out of them. Neither can a bullet, unless fired from a gun.

    The Second Amendment is open to a ridiculous amount of interpretation. It either guarantees the right to own firearms, or it guarantees the right to own firearms in the service of a State Militia. Seeing as there are no officially recognized State Militias anymore, if you choose that interpretation it would be easy to ban guns. The problem is that almost no one uses that interpretation, regardless of what the Founding Father's intent might have been.

    As the article states, that would be damn near impossible. Banning firearms in this country simply isn't possible. Even if you did, there are too many.

    That being said, the Constitution says absolutely nothing about a right to have bullets.

    Restrict the sale of bullets to armed forces and police services. Gun clubs, firing ranges, hunting areas, etc. may also purchase bullets, but they will be heavily taxed. Each bullet will be individually numbered and registered, so that there is a clear chain of ownership from the manufacturer to purchaser to end user.

    The problem arises with what to do with the bullets already in circulation. Well, start by making non-registered bullets illegal. Set the penalty for possessing unregistered bullets the same as a modified firearm like an AR-16 turned in to a M12 or a sawed off shotgun. Next, provide an amnesty period where people can exchange their non-registered bullets for registered ones.

    It's not a perfect solution, but I'd like to hear feedback.

  6. HoosierPoli Says:

    It never, ever fails to make me want to bash my head against a wall when I see anyone, whether it's David Brooks or some shitstain blogger, somehow arguing that deficit spending is automatically bad for the economy, especially given that the "deficit" is an estimate based on current economic activity. They're defined using the same baseline: if the economy improves, the deficit automatically goes down. Slashing demand from the economy, on the other hand, could (and possibly will) cause deficits to INCREASE even though you're spending less money, and I am convinced by those who say that is the case.

  7. Elder Futhark Says:

    Monkey, So the black market ain't extensive enough for ya?

    Anyway, bullets are so last century. Hand held lasers are out there that can burn and blind. Fucking Star Wars geeks are finally dangerous.

  8. OneMadClown Says:

    The article I read talked about how Carl Rove is well known for leaving waitresses $100 tips, and donates a nice chunk to charity, but on the flip side won't support social legislation that is intended to aid the same people he has partially committed to.

    And Hitler was really nice to his dog. *aneurysm*

    I do find good ol' Chinless Bob endlessly amusing when he's calling other people lazy and entitled. TIDOS Yankee is after all the man who shamelessly begged for donations from his readers after Hurricane Humberto apparently destroyed – i.e. tipped over – his charcoal gree-yull.

  9. Daniel Says:

    I hope all of the dickheads who voted down the unemployment extension get bit in the ass hard come election time.

  10. Bugboy Says:

    I was unemployed for a month and a half and was going stir-crazy by the end of it…I thankfully found employment but was planning on at least 6 months with my highly specialized background. I was touring Florida doing interviews and started looking across the country too. It was a real good time!

    I think I'll just quit my job now so I can go without the benefits and go insane all the much faster! Then I can REALLY be happy! I think these guys have been there and back again.

  11. John Says:

    "Funemployment" can only come from someone who's financial worries involve replacing an overpriced grill lost in a storm due to his own carelessness, rather than things like paying rent/mortgage, feeding the family, or affording education for the kids.

    This is where a large part of the ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats comes from, with regards to social programs. Most "conservatives" have never been in a position to have to worry about finances and employment in their lives, so they don't see any need for a social safety net. They state that everyone drawing an unemployment check is a lazy good-for-nothing enjoying the sweet free ride on the government's dollar — because *they've never actually been unemployed and have no idea what it is like*. Being handed cushy jobs by mommy and daddy has deprived them of any perspective with which to frame their thinking about unemployment.

  12. twiffer Says:

    on #1: i'm inclined to point out the abstract "right to keep and bear arms" does not imply a right to keep and bear a specific gun. as in, just cause you can buy a gun, it doesn't mean you get to keep it if you spend non-existant money and go bankrupt. then i thought some more about it and decided this is a good law. go for it. make it illegal to take the guns away. then build yourself a house made out of guns! ha, now they can't foreclose on you!

    on #2: "funemployment" is one of the worst coined terms of 2009. i think it encompasses the experience of approximately 7 people in san fransisco who were all about 3 years away from the burnout->nervous breakdown->start a goat farm cycle anyway.

  13. merl Says:

    I think a lot of rightwingers must not realize that there are unemployed conservatives.

  14. Nunya Says:

    @ Monkey Business – I believe you're channeling Chris Rock with your argument:

  15. Hann1bal Says:

    And the worst part of that whole damn CY post was that his major evidence was totally anecdotal. He literally used his brother and two brothers-in-law to demonstrate why the only thing keeping all these people on unemployment is their laziness. That's the complete polar opposite of a good argument.

  16. Crazy for Urban Planning Says:

    Good comments. Thanks for wishing me well. Good idea about guns and bullets.

  17. Chris Says:

    Hang in there Crazy. It took me 6 months, and a major stroke of luck to land a job. I sent dozens of resumes, hundreds of inquiries, ran across the country twice for interviews, and was having discussion with the wife about catching squirrels to supplement our food budget (still have the snare wire). 'Fun' it ain't.

    In related news, I saw an article last week that companies are _not_ considering unemployed people. Some have even gone so far as to put that in the job ad. It explained some comments interviewers made during what seemed like good interviews.

    Odd that all the 'true Americans' have not focused on that. It seems to me that helping your fellow countryman is part and parcel of patriotism. At least for this patriot it is.

  18. Robert Says:

    The saving grace for me, regarding the Cornfed Manatee's post, was that a preponderance of his commenters (at least when I checked in) were attempting to correct his faulty reasoning.

  19. Christian Parrinello Says:

    Although the conservative bloggers can't help but being obnoxious about it, they have a point — extensions to unemployment benefits creates a disincentive to get back into the workforce. I don't intend to state that as a means of painting broad strokes about people collecting unemployment, but it's still worth mentioning. Another great anecdote: my girlfriend lost her job earlier this year, and she has a smile child. Daycare had been incredibly expensive, and most of the jobs she was looking at paid far more poorly than her previous position. Which means that she was basically given the choice of making less money while incurring the same costs, making living much harder, or accepting the unemployment when employment was available so that she could spend more time with her son and save money both on commuting and daycare. Which would you choose?

    The argument is then that the money creates demand, which then creates jobs — except that we've already observed this to be untrue. It creates demand, but frequently for industries either already saturated and capable of meeting this demand, or in industries almost entirely divorced from the majority of the unemployed populace that need the benefits.

    Quite frankly, I'm not sure why we don't use more of the money for public works projects/infrastructure spending. Why not put people to work using that money and give them valuable vocational skills which can then be used later, in the private sector? Repair more of our fucked up roads/bridges/telecommunications? Rather than constantly extending benefits with little gain to the government, we could improve public life with the spending while simultaneously improving our workforce and giving them back a sense of pride by getting them out of unemployment.

  20. Christian Parrinello Says:

    My last comment is jammed full of typos and just plain incorrect words. Apologies.

  21. jjack Says:

    Let me tell you, this 90% pay cut is a blast! Barely being able to cover my rent and saying "fuck it" to every other bill is very liberating.