Sunday, December 8, 2013

Don't Bother to Track Down Idiots, They'll Come to You

Paul Krugman wrote an empathetic, spot-on op-ed on why we should extend unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed. He got this at the top of the comments on his piece: 
Max San Diego
A wild grizzly bear is magnificent wild hunter but if you temp him with human garbage this apex predator will quickly choose garbage over hunting and just sit next to the campground and become a beggar. Many humans are no different. Giving them easy money and food destroys any work ethic and they will choose watching TV and collecting food stamps/welfare over productive employment. Every rational person who has any experience knows this to be true. The real challenge is to somehow differentiate temporary help from life destructive dependency. Giving unemployment benefits for maybe up to six months is one thing but two years is a fool's errand that is sure to ultimately cause more harm than good. Life is a challenge and when you remove all the challenges you create grizzly bears that dumpster dive rather than run down elk and you destroy the essence of what it means to be a grizzly bear.
Mm. Kay, as Paul would say. This comment is so full of fallacies that we should call Max of San Diego brilliant instead of maximum-load dickwad. He is a dickwad, but brilliant in his sophistry.
  1. A dumb animal will forgo hunting if you feed him enough so that he is never hungry.
  2. If a 50-year-old man loses a $120,000 a year job and his lifestyle requires a $120,000 salary, he won't hang out next to a dumpster that gives him $30,000 a year. He'll work like hell to get a $120,000 -- or the best he can find -- a year job before his whole life blows up.
  3. Max says humans are no different. See 2. They are, though, no different if the dumpster doesn't provide enough food for either of them. The man will work. The grizzly will hunt.
  4. "The real challenge is to somehow differentiate temporary help from life destructive dependency." See 2.
  5. And Max, see a counselor to deal with your anger issues. And stay away from grizzlies near dumpsters. They might just surprise you.
I could go on, but I won't. You get it. If you don't, you're a dickwad like Max. By the way, don't hunt him down in San Diego because there are Max's everywhere. Well, actually, not everywhere. They only represent about 20% of the population. You'll find them in studio apartments with hacked Internet accounts, and in addition to food stamps, they also get a check from Mom. But they don't hang out in their pajamas. Mom cured them of that, just before she threw them out of the house. At 36. Now, to make themselves feel better, they criticize people vaguely unlike themselves. Max is a loser. The losers he describes are people he makes up so he feels better.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Max lays around all day after he gets home from his customer-support job, and, to make himself feel better, channels Rand Paul. Saves him from having to feel empathy or something, like the way he felt before resentment took the place of what he felt before everything didn't work out.

Just to make us to feel a little better, let's look at the comment after Max's:
American in Tokyo Tokyo
A key reason for providing unemployment benefits is that people who are receiving 40% to 50% of their prior pay spend all of the money they receive. The money is spent on rent, mortgage payments, fuel, transportation, food, basic clothing, ancillary educational expenses, taxes other than income and payroll taxes and so forth. All of that spending recycles back into the economy and creates employment.
Pure Keynesianism, and that's fine. But one other reason to give aid to our unemployed is that there are no jobs for them. If there are fewer jobs than there are unemployed, then the only way people get jobs is if they're taking jobs from others who have left work, for whatever reason. This is not progress, it's only recycled misery. Yes, as Rand Paul blandly recited this morning, the long-term unemployed are less employable. It's a way to cut down on the number of people employers have to consider. It doesn't make any sense -- unless it's outright age discrimination -- but it does give employers a way to select from a group of unemployed that is larger than the pool of workers that will get hired. Again, recycled misery, something Rand Paul likes. The idea of a job squeeze means wages won't go up, and businesses, in his world view, gain from that. Wages don't go down -- Paul Krugman's famous sticky wages -- so hence the slow growth of jobs.

Krupman calls Max's and Rand Paul's method of handling stubborn unemployment "the punishment cure," an apt name for it, because they don't have any other cure for it, other than blaming the victims of this demand-side downturn. Max should hope like hell that it doesn't happen to him. Rand Paul -- and some other Max -- will be ready to cut him loose, like any other loser.

It's so great to watch a great American mind at work, watching out for his fellow Americans. Good luck, Max. You're next in Rand Paul libertarian fantasy.

No comments:

Post a Comment