I’ve been writing a lot lately about a certain mentality sweeping the country (or, more appropriately, coming into light), where facts and logic no longer count. For example, the internet is a great place to find a group of people who believe what you want to believe. So no matter how many facts are thrown your way contradicting that belief you so dearly want to hold onto, there are enough people out there fighting desperately to maintain that same belief that you can actually find a comfortable little home for yourself all nice and cuddled up with your new friends while completely disregarding facts and/or reality. I see the Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin followers doing this daily.
And in the past few days, we’ve watched Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona fight vigorously for his belief system, even in the face of facts showing that his statements are, plainly and simply, wrong. And the result? Well, it’s always the same. Innocent people get hurt.
“[unemployment insurance] doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work… because people are being paid even though they’re not working.
I’m sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue that it’s a job enhancer. If anything, as I said, it’s a disincentive. And the same thing with the COBRA extension and the other extensions here.”
“The Senator from Arizona argues that unemployment insurance is a disincentive to jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know anybody who’s out of work and is receiving some unemployment insurance believes that that payment is sufficient not to find a job. The payments are so much lower than any salary or wage would be, it’s just ridiculous. I might add, there are five unemployed Americans today for every job opening in the economy. People are looking for work. They’re not unemployed because of choice.”
According to the Huffington Post:
[Baucus] added that Kyl’s economic argument was flawed, as well. Unemployment benefits do create jobs because the recipients cycle the money through the economy. He cited a Congressional Budget Office analysis that said the Gross Domestic Product grew $1.90 for every dollar the federal government paid out.
Baucus, ever the bipartisan, gave Kyl a chance to take his accusation back.
“I don’t know if the senator really meant this, but he certainly strongly implied, in fact, I took him to mean that unemployment insurance is a disincentive for people to look for work,” said Baucus.
“My colleague quoted me correctly — almost correctly. I said, it’s not a job creator. If anything, it could be argued that it is a disincentive for work, because people are being paid even though they’re not working. I certainly did not say, and would never imply, that the reason people don’t have jobs is because they’re not looking for them. Now, it is true that a lot of Americans have gotten so tired of looking for jobs or — or believe that they’re not gong to find them, that they have stopped looking. What I said is true and if my colleague could find a source that says it’s not true, then please show me. But providing unemployment benefits does not create jobs.”
And there it is: “if my colleague could find a source that says it’s not true, then please show me. But providing unemployment benefits does not create jobs.”
This statement right on the heels of Baucus having just pointed him toward the CBO analysis.
Even when confronted with economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s comments:
“It puts money into people’s pockets and they spend almost all of it. That creates jobs.”
Kyl still remained firm on his stance regardless of the facts that spoke to the contrary. Yes, I agree with Kyl that there are some out there who may not be looking for jobs because they are receiving unemployment. That will ALWAYS happen in ANY system that offers help. There will always be a number of people who take advantage of the system. For whatever reason, good or not. But that is not the bulk of the people. It would be a miniscule percentage. And in the midst of this recession, with all the suffering and desperation going on in this country as a result, this man keeps this much needed money out of the hands of individuals and families who desperately need it. All because he insists on holding on to a belief that has been factually disproved.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning continues his filibuster blocking the Senate from passing a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless. Even Bunning’s homestate paper slammed him:
As long as Republicans were in charge, Sen. Jim Bunning was OK with trading a surplus for a deficit. He voted to put two wars, tax cuts and a Medicare drug benefit on the nation’s credit card.
Now that Republicans are no longer in charge, Bunning is drawing the line on deficit spending. He’s doing it in a way that shows callous contempt for the more than one in 10 working Kentuckians whose jobs disappeared in the economic meltdown.
We’ve become accustomed to bizarre, egocentric behavior from Bunning. So it wasn’t all that surprising when he single-handedly blocked an unemployment benefits extension for a million people, including 119,230 in Kentucky, whose benefits run out this year. About 14,000 Kentuckians will exhaust their benefits in two weeks without the extension.
Bunning’s filibuster also denies newly laid-off workers help paying for health insurance. It halts road and bridge projects around the country by furloughing 2,000 federal transportation employees, stops reimbursements to state highway programs and cuts Medicare payments to doctors.
To those who know him, it’s not surprising that Bunning answered a Democratic colleague’s complaint with a crude profanity. Or that he joked about missing a basketball game while pushing some unemployed Kentuckians into homelessness or bankruptcy.
What is surprising is that Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, the leading Republicans to succeed Bunning, jumped on his one-man band wagon.
Bunning’s articulate and now-infamous response to the facts and pleas presented to him?
Meanwhile, according to the Huff Post:
The National Flood Insurance Program expired Sunday night after Congress failed to pass a temporary extension of the program that is vital to protecting homes in the New Orleans area.
The lapse puts home sales at risk and could leave homeowners whose policies were scheduled to renew March 1 in jeopardy in the unlikely event that Monday’s rains turned out to be heavy enough to cause flooding.
So it seems facts and truth no longer have any meaning in today’s world for men like Bunning and Kyl. No matter the consequences. They believe what they want to believe. And they are representative of a growing mindset shared by a segment of Americans.
True or false?