In an Economy with 9.2% Unemployment, We’re Arguing Over How to Lay More People Off?

Oh, I’m sure I’m oversimplifying. Heaven forfend.

But that seems to be the largest news-maker across the country: how to lay more people off. Governor Cuomo’s latest proposal seems to be getting positive reviews from the AFL-CIO of New York. But it does strike me that our state government and others across the country have basically abandoned the idea that generating revenue and keeping people employed is a good idea.

Capitol Confidential » Cuomo to propose statewide LIFO reform bill.

As for LIFO, I think the entire concept of firing teachers for under performance is exactly backwards: if anybody can put up with the years of grueling, largely thankless work of being a teacher, that person should be thanked. Yes, thanked. Ask any hiring manager at any other company what its like to see someone last more than five years.


Compromising Our Way Into Debt

Compromise. It’s what we all say we want out of our leaders in Washington.

But what is the current compromise on the Bush Tax Cuts? Well, not to resolve the issue, certainly. Better to simply kick the can down the road two more years – continuing to borrow money for rich people’s tax cuts, in other words – while at the same time extending unemployment benefits yet again.

How much worse could a compromise possibly be? Not only is it “Not 100% of What [Barack Obama] Want[s] or What the Republicans Want,” its really not anything that either side wants at all. For Democrats, its kicking themselves in the ass in two years time – when another election coincides with another vote on raising taxes – in exchange for a few extra months of unemployment insurance that is a practical vote of no confidence in their ability to lead. For Republicans, its a capitulation on unemployment insurance in exchange for a continued higher national debt.

On the other hand, there is no scenario under which taxes increase that doesn’t make Democrats look bad as the majority party. Paul Krugman‘s idea of letting everything expire and then letting the Republicans try to talk their way out of it ignores the fact that this is precisely what they’re good at.

The dysfunction in Washington seems to have no bounds whatsoever.