Michele Bachmann calls for guaranteed employment for all

Rights come with responsibilities, my conservative friends are always saying. And they’re right about that.

And because they’re right about that, then they must also agree with me that responsibilities come with rights.

If, for example, I am responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of my house clear of snow in the winter, then I must also have the right to shovel that snow off of that sidewalk. It would make no sense to say that I was responsible for shoveling that snow if I were not permitted to shovel it. So the obligation entails the right to meet that obligation, otherwise any talk of such an obligation would be a perverse, Kafkaesque farce.

Which brings us to 2 Thessalonians 3:10, a verse quoted recently by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. It’s one part of a longer discussion in which the author rebukes those in the early Christian community who had stopped working in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.

Michele Bachmann cited this passage on Monday as a definition of “self-reliance” — “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” It’s true that the author of 2 Thessalonians urges Christians to “earn their own living,” but the modern idea of “self-reliance” isn’t really compatible with the generally Pauline outlook of that epistle. If you told St. Paul that you were “self-reliant,” he’d have told you that you were a blasphemous, idolatrous fool.

But nevermind such quibbles, because I’m too excited by the fact that, finally, four years into America’s jobs crisis, we finally have a politician with national stature saying that every American who is able to work should be guaranteed a job. Here is Bachmann bravely saying that employment is the fundamental and undeniable right of every American who is able to work. Everyone has the responsibility to work, she said, and therefore everyone has the right to a job.

I admit, Bachmann was a bit muted on the “therefore” part, and she didn’t provide any details about how, exactly, she would ensure full employment and guarantee a job for every American in need of one. But that has to be what she meant. It’s the only logical, non-contradictory and decent possibility for what she could have meant.

Because if Bachmann was arguing that every American capable of working has a responsibility to work without also arguing that every such person has the right to a job — a guaranteed right to a job, right now — then that would make her a monstrous, illogical imbecile intent on cruelly punishing the jobless with contradictory obligations and prohibitions. That would make her a horrible, ignorant, despicable failure of a human being.

So, obviously, that can’t be what she meant. Right?

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  • Lori

    If only someone in our mostly useless press corp or pundit class would ask her this. 

  • Anonymous

    “Therefore.” I don’t think that word means what you think it means.  Or at least I don’t think that Micky Bee would agree with you as to it’s applicability in this situation.

  • eyelessgame

    I think, in the minds of most people who listen and approve of this, that they are weaseling out of your syllogism by focusing on “willing” to work. 

    In other words, she seems to believe it’s possible to separate out the “unwilling” from the “willing but unable”, and allow the former to starve but feed the latter.

    How one does that I am not at all sure.

  • Anonymous

    I’m too excited by the fact that … we finally have a politician with national stature saying that every American who is able to work should be guaranteed a job. Here is Bachmann bravely saying that employment is the fundamental and undeniable right of every American who is able to work. Everyone has the responsibility to work, she said, and therefore everyone has the right to a job.

    So you support the “right to work” laws?  Good to know.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Yes, supporting an actual right to work automatically includes supporting something completely different which uses the same words (presumably because it would be harder to pass a “Fuck You, Unions” Law).

  • Lori

    For a guy who claims not to be here to regurgitate Republican talking points you sure can be relied on to regurgitate Republican talking points. 

    So-called “right to work” laws are about the right to have a job in the same way and to the same extent that the American Family Association supports families. Not one iota. 

  • Apocalypse Review

    “Right to work” is the most mendacious misnomer ever invented, aunursa, and if you had an ounce of sensibility you would not have tried that ridiculous sophistry.

    “Right to work” really means “union-busting is encouraged and hire-and-fire-totally-at-the-whim-of-the-employer”, and you should know this. If you do not, you do now.

  • Andrew Glasgow

    “Right to work” aka right to fire? Orwellian bill naming: right wingers haz it.

  • Rikalous

    “Right to work” aka right to fire? Orwellian bill naming: right wingers haz it.

    My favorite example is the “Protect Life” act that lets hospitals refuse to perform abortions that would save the mother’s life.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    “Right to work” aka right to fire? Orwellian bill naming: right wingers haz it.

    See also: “No Child Left Behind”, “Clear Skies Act”, and “USAPATRIOT Act”.  :-P

  • http://scyllacat.livejournal.com Scylla Kat

    So you support the “right to work” laws?  Good to know.

    Oh, those wily unions.  You have to reign them in carefully, or they’ll just take over.  They’re so scared of them here in Georgia that although I’ve never even had access to a union in any job I’ve worked, I’ve had it patiently explained to me over and over again that there’s a Right to Work law in place which protects me by allowing my employer to fire me immediately and without cause.

    Republicans own Georgia, by the way. 

  • Button

    As much as I want to agree with you Fred, I think your analogy is flawed.

    Your right to shovel your drive is more about not being prevented from doing so by government. If there was a nationwide shortage of shovels, it wouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to distribute shovels to the populace in order to fulfill your Right to Shovel – it’s only their responsibility to stay out of your way.

    US citizens of age do as far as I know all have the right to work, in that the government won’t interfere with their ability to become employed.

    Of course, given that the policies and corruption of the government were partially responsible for the initial Shovel Crisis, it would still be Kafkaesque not to provide leniency in driveway shoveling responsibilities; but I don’t think that Bachmann’s comments inherently entail shovel distribution, only not arresting people for going out with the shovels they already have.

  • Lori

    The place the Right actually departs from Fred’s logic is that if rights entail responsibilities then responsibilities must entail rights. Rights, like a “stake” in government are for people who can afford to buy them. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The place the Right actually departs from Fred’s logic is that if rights entail responsibilities then responsibilities must entail rights. Rights, like a “stake” in government are for people who can afford to buy them.

    Lori:

    One thing I read was that “stakeholder” used to mean “someone completely disinterested in the outcome” because he or she was a neutral party who held the stakes (i.e. the potential prize) in a bet or game of chance.

    Kinda illuminating what kind of language hijacking’s been done by the right wing in the last generation or so.

  • Nightsky

    [snooty voice]
    I don’t see why people can’t just shovel their damn drives, shovel or not. *I* manage to keep my drive shoveled all year ’round, and no one ever gave *me* a shovel! I use my bare hands– well, yes, I do live in southern California, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.  We are the 53%!

    They’re just LAZY.
    [/snooty voice]

  • Anonymous

    If there was a nationwide shortage of shovels, it wouldn’t be the
    government’s responsibility to distribute shovels to the populace in
    order to fulfill your Right to Shovel – it’s only their responsibility
    to stay out of your way.

    That’s because it hasn’t been decided that We Must All Shovel to Eat, though.  If the government declared that shoveling is the duty of every citizen, and that non-shovelers literally deserve to starve, then it absolutely would be the government’s responsibility to distribute shovels to the populace.  Otherwise, you’re saying that it’s not the government’s responsibility to make sure Americans have any means of avoiding mass starvation.  Which, under any theory of government I can imagine subscribing to, would be silly.

    aunursa, why does your otherwise high-quality brain switch over to energy conservation mode when certain topics come up?  Even the proponents of “right to work” laws agree that they wouldn’t guarantee anybody a job, and aren’t meant to.  I mean, this fact is on the very Wikipedia page you linked to. There’s no reasonable way to connect such laws to Fred’s argument.

  • Kukulkan

    Button wrote:

    As much as I want to agree with you Fred, I think your analogy is flawed.

    Your right to shovel your drive is more about not being prevented from doing so by government.

    I think you’re misreading what Fred wrote. It’s not about the right to shovel, it’s about the responsibility or obligation to keep the sidewalk and drive in front of your house free of snow.

    If someone imposes a responsibility on you, then it’s up to them to make sure you have the means to meet that responsibility, otherwise it’s not a valid requirement. If I have a responsibility to keep my drive free of snow, then I have to have the means to do so. If I don’t have the means to do so — because there are no shovels — then the responsibility is moot, since I cannot fulfill it. If the government creates the requirement that I keep my drive free of snow, then it’s up to them to ensure that shovels are available so I (and everyone else) can meet that responsibility.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Australia and here we have compulsory voting.

    [Just to try and head off some comments, I’ll point out it’s actually “compulsory attendance at a polling booth on election day to get your name crossed off”. Once you’ve done that, whether or not you proceed to fill in the ballot papers they give you is entirely up to you. Checking to see whether or not you actually voted would be a violation of the secret ballot.]

    This was introduced in 1912 and people who don’t get their name crossed off are fined. Over the years the only reason the courts have accepted for non-attendance is that it was impossible for one reason or another. The courts have ruled that if the government is going to require all citizens to vote, it has to make it possible for all citizens to vote. If it’s not possible for a citizen to vote, then the requirement is invalid and violation of natural justice.

    [Again, to head off some comments, I’ll point out that the term “natural justice” is a concept in Australian law deriving from English law, not just a phrase I’m throwing around.]

    As a consequence, the Australian electoral system goes to great lengths to ensure there are polling booths available throughout the country and in embassies and consulates throughout the world, stations available for casting your vote early if for some reason you believe you won’t be able to vote on election day, even mobile polling booths that visit hospitals and the like.

    I think Fred is invoking the same concept. If the requirement is if you do not work, then you do not eat then it’s up to whoever is imposing that requirement to make it possible for you to work. If they don’t, then the requirement is invalid and unfair; it’s just a rationalisation used to blame the victim.

    I will also note, there’s also a bit of rhetorical slight-of-hand in the statement, since “work” is equated with “paid employment”, which excludes all sorts of activities, such as taking care of a house and raising children, from the requirement, even though such activities are, under any rational consideration, a form of work.
     

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    If the government creates the requirement that I keep my drive free of snow, then it’s up to them to ensure that shovels are available so I (and everyone else) can meet that responsibility.

    This is the issue that I have with the Obama administration’s health care plan as it was implemented.  It requires all citizens to have health insurance, because the government must provide emergency care for them and that gets expensive when it is the result of something preventable that could have been taken care of more easily if the person were insured beforehand.  However, the opt-in public health plan was nixed, forcing people to rely on private health insurance providers.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people who cannot afford health insurance on a consistent basis.  I could end up fined because I have to make a choice of whether to meet my responsibility to be insured, or to have a roof over my head.

  • Apocalypse Review

    I know it might not seem like much, but write to the President and write to your Congresscritters/Senators. They should know that the health insurance plan they passed still has gaps a mile wide.

    Also write to the editor of your local paper. Again it may seem not like much, but you have a chance at getting other people to say “hey, wait a minute – Obamacare needs to be fixed and improved.”

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I suspect that from the point of view of the People Who Matter, the massive tithe to the insurance industry was a feature, not a bug.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Also write to the editor of your local paper. Again it may seem not like much, but you have a chance at getting other people to say “hey, wait a minute – Obamacare needs to be fixed and improved.”

    I feel like that would be retreading old ground by this point.  There is already too much noise in the air about “Repeal Obamacare!” from the right and I would rather not add my voice to it.  I think that, on balance, it still does more good than harm, and the political climate is not exactly conducive at the moment to fine adjustments in policy.  Maybe I will get fined, but that is a burden I am willing to bare if the net benefit to society is worth it.  I am but one life, and I would rather not put my needs before those of others who might have greater needs than I do.  

    I do want this issue addressed eventually, of course, but I am going to defer that argument until the timing is right to bring it back up.  There is too much on the table at the moment that needs to get dealt with before this can be resolved.  In the meantime, I will look into private options and an increased income.  I aged off my family’s plan years ago, but maybe they offer some option for adult extended family that I could pay into which would be cheaper than an individual policy.  We shall see.  

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I feel like that would be retreading old ground by this point.  There is
    already too much noise in the air about “Repeal Obamacare!”

    Maybe if you tried framing it as “Fix Obamacare”?

    Medicaid eligibility, I understand, will go up to 133% of the poverty line by 2014. I have no idea if this will help you, but it’s better than nothing.

    Also, what about the high risk pool?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act#Provisions

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teh-Bewilderness/100001375292446 Teh Bewilderness

    I’m not sure that she necessarily understand everything she says, or understands what words mean in context. I think she ascribes to the L&J method reciting instead of ‘splainin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teh-Bewilderness/100001375292446 Teh Bewilderness

    aunursa, are you being silly? “Right to work” is a euphemism for laws that prevent collective bargaining in favor of individual begging.

  • Anonymous

    Hey! Remember a year or two ago when all those Republicans claimed either employers couldn’t find people to work for them because they were living the fat cat lifestyle of unemployment?

    Looks like such sound basis in reality is coming back in fashion.

  • Lori

     Looks like such sound basis in reality is coming back in fashion.  

    It can’t come back into fashion because it never went out. 

  • Anonymous

    You’re right about that. It’s actually sad where Sarah Palin, still using her same smug, ignorant rhetoric is starting to sound sane and reasonable. Compare Joe Walsh’s psychotic breakdown at his own publicity event where he started screaming at atendees, “don’t blame the banks!” with the fact that in the middle of a dazzlingly stupid speech even Sarah Palin is smart enough not to side with the banks.

  • Kaylakaze

    The thing is, from talking to right-wing idiots, they’re convinced that there are plenty of jobs and the only reason you don’t have one is because you’re either A) not looking hard enough or B) to uppity to be willing to do hard labor for little pay.

  • Anonymous

    And again, forget science or evolution, Michele Bachmann is some of the best proof there is there is no God, or at least no kind, involved, benevolent one. Perhaps she was lashing out at the unemployed because she caught her husband trolling Craigslist again. 

  • J_

    Yeahyeah very interesting Fred, here’s the *real* scoop today:

    MOTHERFUCKERS COULDN’T EVEN PASS A PROLIFE AMENDMENT IN *MISSISSIPPI!*

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  • muteKi

    Thank heavens. I maintain the issue of “personhood” is nearly irrelevant to whether or not abortion ought to be legal though — consider a very late-term abortion necessary due to complications, for example.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    A fetus demands use of another person’s body for nine months; as a person, do I get to do something similar, like require someone else to give up a kidney should I need one?

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    What is remarkable is that we see major political party candidates (Cain, Bachmann) spewing such hatred and contempt for the unemployed at a time when unemployment is at 9% (and that’s just u3– where can I look up the current u5?). 

    Although the historically high unemployment seems to suggest certain logical problems with their premises– unemployment was 5.1% in 2005 and 11% in 2009, if people are unemployed because they don’t want to work what happened between 2005 and 2009 to make 6% of the population just decide they don’t want to work anymore?– there is a bigger problem. 9% of the population is A HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE. That is more than enough to swing an election. What kind of politician actively insults 9% of the population, to their faces?

    I guess this is just another sign of the extent to which there are no consequences for anything you do if you are a Republican, and the Republicans know it.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    What kind of politician actively insults 9% of the population, to their faces?

    Possibly a politician who figures that 9% (and their loved ones) won’t be able to find a way to get to their polling place.  Maybe a politician who assumes that the homeless can’t vote, or that people Occupying part of the nearest big city won’t want to leave.  Or maybe a politician who figures that they can hire many of those unemployed folks to hand out misleading sample ballots in places far enough away from home that they won’t be able to get back to their polling place in time.  (Words cannot express how happy I was when Ehrlich and Steele both lost that election.)

  • Apocalypse Review

    “If folks are here from out of town that’s fine with me. That’s what the
    Democrats have always done. It’s legal and it’s what the Democrats have
    done forever. This is a story?

    “If we’ve finally caught up with the Democrats that’s fine,” he added.
    “People asked me about ballots and other stuff. That’s not my job. I’ve
    got other things to do.”

    Republicans really do have child-like behavior sometimes. Between wishful fantasizing and pretending it’s real to using “so’s your old man” as retorts – this really is a disgrace.

  • Demonhype

    Well, they’re also trying to push through voter ID legislation that has the real intention and effect of preventing the poor and disenfranchised from voting too.  That’s probably how they figure they can insult more than 9% of the population (actual unemployment tends to be higher than the “official” numbers, after all)–because not only are they going to be allowed to morally starve and decrease the surplus population but soon those flea-ridden bastards won’t be allowed to vote anymore under the New Jim Crow, and if they can force a few anti-choice laws in place and eliminate contraception they can ensure a steady supply of Corporate-Profit-Fodder to replace the worn out livestock dying out in their thirties and forties.

  • Lori

      if people are unemployed because they don’t want to work what happened between 2005 and 2009 to make 6% of the population just decide they don’t want to work anymore?  

     

    Here’s the Right Wing explanation for this: there was a recession in 2008. During that recession millions of people got a taste of the good life to be had feeding at the public trough. The recession is now long over and they could work if they wanted to, but the lazy m-f’ers have decided that there’s no reason to get off the sofa as long as someone else will pay their bills. They’re now nothing but takers living off the hard work of the put-upon makers. 

    I wish I was making that up, but I’m not. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     If that’s true, then doesn’t that mean that Obama fixed the unemployment problem and they can’t say that his economic record is bad any more?

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    (and that’s just u3– where can I look up the current u5?).

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm

  • Apocalypse Review

    Also, note the redefinition of U-3 and U-5 in recent years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unemployment#United_States_Bureau_of_Labor_Statistics

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Oh awesome, thanks!

  • eyelessgame

    Republicans won’t say so out loud… but a big undercurrent is a belief that there are actually a lot of people thinking “we lazy people elected one of our own; the color of the president means I shouldn’t have to work”. Republicans won’t say so out loud, of course. But parse R&nd P&ul’s statement about how we’re coming dangerously close to a nation that has more takers than makers… and recognize that to his own people he’s talking racial demographics in code.

  • Lori

    Now, eyelessgame you know you’re not allowed to suggest that Dr P*ul is in any way racist. He delivered lots of African American babies. He can’t possibly be racist. Palling around with (and taking money from) racists is meaningless compared to birthin’ babies. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    They let Rand Paul deliver babies? Do all doctors get trained to do that?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I think Lori might be confusing Pauls senior and junior. Ron Paul, the crazy old guy, I think is a GP and has delivered lots of ‘cuhluhhd’ babies. And had white power folk write his newsletter, apparently.
    Rand Paul, the crazy younger guy, is an Opthamologist who made up his own certification and thinks Flourescent Light Bulbs are a communist plot.

  • Intersection Vic

    ‘cuhluhhd’
    What’s that? Google doesn’t give any results for that or for it’s r13’d form.

  • Anonymous

    ‘cuhluhhd’
    What’s that?

    ‘Colored’.

  • Anonymous

    Sure it can. I have no doubt that, rattling around in the jumble of ill-defined ideologies, messianic Christian theologies, erroneous beliefs about History and whatnot that passes for Bachmann’s mind, there may very well be a meta-Michelle Bachmann who’s trying to tell the political Michelle Bachmann that, in order to meet their societal obligations (raise families, pay bills, etc.) people have to not *only* work, they have to be able to *find* and *keep* whatever particular job constitutes that work. Unfortunately, I think that the political Bachmann is so enraptured/enamored in the above-mentioned ideologies, theologies, beliefs, etc. that she can no longer distinguish between them and earthly reality (“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” may as well, in fact, be the unofficial campaign slogan for the entire Republican presidential line-up!), and meta-Michelle simply gets drowned out in the cacophony.

    Or, yes, she’s a horrible, ignorant, despicable failure of a human being.

    Either way, it does not bode well for the rest of us if she becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

    P.S. Fred, you might want to check your Disqus. I can’t get a cursor or cut-and-paste with my iPad Safari. I checked it in a couple of other sites and it still worked for them. Just thought you should know.

  • Anonymous

    What are you talking about?  If I were Obama, nothing in the world would make me happier than having Bachmann win the Republican primary.  A lot of the candidates are crazy, but Bachmann actually looks crazy.  I mean, look at the scuffle over the Newsweek cover that highlighted the glint of madness in her eyes; what she and her supporters don’t seem to realize is that every photo of her does the exact same thing.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe. But stranger things have happened, haven’t they? I seem to recall the 1977 Presidential campaign wherein an obscure peanut farmer and ex-governor of Georgia roared in from behind a rather well-known pack and took the nomination much to the surprise of the then-ensconced punditry. (And remember, the punditry back then was rather tame compared to what’s inflicted on us these days.) Granted that Bachmann isn’t as obscure as Carter was, but I’m convinced that there’s a good-sized portion of the American electorate (that aberrant 27% that seems to show up in poll after poll) that actually *likes* that I-just-want-to-watch-the-world-burn! “glint of madness” in her eyes (and the ideologies/theologies/beliefs behind it) and is more than willing to vote in the candidate most willing and able to put it to torch. That 27% may not be enough to get her elected by themselves (should she get the nominated) but, as I think Karl Rove will tell you, it’s a pretty good base on which to start a presidential campaign.

    So, yes; there’s an outside possibility that Bachmann *might* get the nomination. But as Jim Carrey’s eternal optimist says in “Dumb and Dumber” when told that he has a one-out-of-a-million chance of getting the girl: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but Jiminy Carter didn’t look like he should be writing a manifesto in a cabin in the woods surrounded by his shotgun collection.

  • Anonymous

    LOL! Okay, you got me there! But I think that my previous point — that there is a fair-sized segment of voters who want to watch the world burn, that they see Michelle Bachmann as the one to light the match, and that the Republican Party might use those two premises as their way back into the White House — still stands and is ignored at our peril.

  • Anonymous

    I had a similar problem earlier, it’s fixed now.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I noticed that. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    perverse, Kafkaesque farce.

    That is, unless you’re Michelle Bachmann and you see 1984 and The Metamorphosis as aspirational works.

  • Apocalypse Review

    mcc: I can’t get the U-5 for you off the top of my head, but the SGS Alternate Measure charts include U-6:

    http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

    Also, Fred? As much as this post might feel like a judo move against Bachmann the fact remains that the popular understanding of her use of that Biblical phrase is bound up with cultural preconceptions that a person with no job is, by definition, a lazy slacker who doesn’t want to work, particulatrly if that person is a person of color.

    It would be better to go to the works of that great man, William Vickrey. His Nobel Prize was for peak-load pricing, but his work since then was on the problem of unemployment.

    http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Is Michelle Bachmann taking a position that everyone should be given jobs, or is she an idiot?  

    We report, you decide!  

  • Demonhype

    No, she is taking a position that the unemployed should starve to death and decrease the surplus population.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    No, she is taking a position that the unemployed should starve to death and decrease the surplus population.

    Putting aside the monstrousness of the idea for the moment, a big problem with such a “if they’re not working then we’re not feeding them,” idea is that it just… Does.  Not.  Work.  People who are not working, either by choice or by circumstance, generally do not just sit there and wait to starve to death when deprived of a conventional way to acquire vital sustenance.  All creatures have a drive to live that tends to override in such situations.  They will find a way to live, and desperation will give them strength.  

    Hopefully this means that they can find employment, but unfortunately that is not always an option, and the fewer options people have, the more willing they are to explore other avenues that they would normally balk at in less desperate times.  And I am not just talking about dirty-but-honest jobs, unpleasant as they may be, but people will be driven into doing things that are not wholly legal and often destructive to the social and economic environment that they live in.  People become dog-eat-dog out of desperation, and if someone else has to suffer so they can live, they will more than likely be driven to it.  

    Randians often think of society as being divided into producers and takers, but the fact is anyone desperate enough will become a taker.  It is not a matter of government hand-outs to the lazy, it is a matter of the desperate becoming predators upon those who produce.  Sure, the most financially endowed people can buy protection, but those who struggle to lift themselves up by their bootstraps just to get by will find themselves the prey of those driven to take, dragging them into the same desperate circumstances that drove others to be takers in the first place.  

    That is not a good society to live in, and thinking that the unemployed will just go away if they are ignored long enough is a recipe for urban anarchy.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HZDOAAQAB5LXYL5Z4EAV55QMLY AbdulJ

    Isn’t that the argument in favor of the New Deal? Save capitalism by giving the poor an alternative to anarchism or a Bolshevik uprising?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Isn’t that the argument in favor of the New Deal? Save capitalism by giving the poor an alternative to anarchism or a Bolshevik uprising?

    Pretty much.  I am not so concerned about violent uprise, but I am concerned about urban degredation.  Once prosperous places becoming slums, infrastructure crumbling, lots of people homeless, desperate, or both. 

    To clarify, I do not mean to imply that the unemployed or homeless are psychopaths who will snap when things get bad enough.  But allowing situations to get to the point where there are so many desperate people down on their luck creates an environment where all the little “social ills” can flurish.  Maybe most people are trying to live as gracefully as they can in the circumstances that they find themselves.  But some few will always rise up or move in to take advantage.  Criminals can move illicit products through such areas, and the population will turn a blind eye because they cannot count on the governmental authorities for full protection.  Many of them just want to escape, but the cost of a temporary chemical escape is so much easier than the long-shot dream of gainful employment.  Uncontrolled markets spring up, and those profitting from them want to see the situation they profit from to stay profitable, so do not expect plans for gentrification to go over well.  Maybe people band together in pacts of mutual protection.  A good idea in theory, but in effect you have created a gang, and how long before the dog-eat-dog mentality gets to them too?  When the first bullet starts flying, regardless of who shot first, things go from bad to worse for all parties, and what standards they may have had start to erode further. 

    And the “big producers”, the ones with enough money, will be glad that they have enough money to live out in their walled suburb, away from all those horrible people.

  • Demonhype

    @yahoo-5OPDTGMVEFDYDKHEXSNNWOFNWY:disqus  Fearless Son:  Exactly that!  And I tried to point that out to some people when they complained about those “lazy takers” just drinking their life’s blood and not giving anything back, and how it’s wrong that any amount of tax dollars should go to anything that doesn’t give “me” a direct return.  I pointed out that eliminating welfare won’t force them into the workforce because they’re not out of the workforce due to being lazy–but eliminating welfare will result in a lot more people living under bridges and in alleys, hungry, desperate, cold, and violent.  So yes, you do get something back–you have a society wherein those who hit hard times are not forced into dangerous illegal activities to survive, and that helps you too.  I mean, directly.  Because should you fall on hard times (I know, they don’t believe they will) you too will be  given an alternative to prostitution or drug dealing or whatever to survive.

    Sorry, I don’t quite know how to quote in this system yet.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Precisely. 

    Sorry, I don’t quite know how to quote in this system yet.

    It uses standard HTML tags.  In this case, enclose a quoted section with <blockquote> tags. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

    Why do I get the feeling that, gods forbid, she was actually able to do something like this it would mean that people on disability who are unable to work, the elderly on social security, etc would be left to starve in the street?

    — then that would make her a monstrous, illogical imbecile intent on cruelly punishing the jobless with contradictory obligations and prohibitions. That would make her a horrible, ignorant, despicable failure of a human being.

    Bingo! We have a winner!

  • Anonymous

    As a union member at a union shop, I look forward to aunursa defending “right-to-work” laws. Oh wait, he/she isn’t going to.

    Trolls gonna troll.

  • MIkeJ

    Not only should everybody who wants a job be given one, every job should have a living wage too. I don’t see any other way to interpret what she’s saying, unless she doesn’t really mean what she says.

  • Apocalypse Review

    Of course not. Nose to the grindstone, be happy with your 10 cents an hour.

    I read this one story of a guy who worked at a factory in the Depression. Their supervisor had just lost his job, and the guy’s friend got promoted.

    In the guy’s own words, “my friend became a son of a bitch for 10 cents more an hour.”

    And to think that this “devil take the hindmost” ideology is considered an acceptable way to structure society!

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    And of course nobody has physical or educational limitations that might cause certain types of work to be difficult.  Not to mention that employers can’t be bothered to train people or make accommodations like installing screen reader software for the blind programmer or buy a larger chair for the fat guy.   

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OPDTGMVEFDYDKHEXSNNWOFNWY Jim

    Button, Fred is talking about a politician who is speaking about the actions she would take as a politician. While I agree that it is the responsibility of government not to guarantee employment but rather to create an environment that strongly encourages gainful employment, that’s not what she said.

    If a head librarian, operating in her capacity as head librarian, says, “I think everyone in this library has a right to work,” then you would expect that she would support everyone employed at her library being scheduled hours.

    Bachmann is speaking as the potential head of state and saying the same thing.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    Slightly off-topic but relevant:

    In the wake of so many vocal “Christians” deliberately misusing and twisting the Bible and Jesus’ words to defend a worldview that consistently hovers somewhere between “vile” and “absurd”, and in the spirit of the Occupy trend, I had this idea the other day:

    Everyone’s probably heard the expression “the kingdom of heaven”, and know that it was something Jesus talked about a lot. Christians talk about serving in the Kingdom, and being cititzens in the Kingdom, etc. But it seems nowadays that the “Kingdom” that a number of fundamentalist Christians are trying to bring about is nothing more than a petty theocracy that would be a pretty horrible place for anyone to live.

    But that’s not the kingdom as it was envisioned by Jesus in the Bible and it’s, I dare to say, not the kingdom most Christians have in mind when they use the expression. Jesus’s kingdom was a place where the hungry would be fed, the sick cared for, the oppressed liberated, and where the first would be last and the last first. That’s the sort of place I hear Fred talking about, and so many others like him.

    So I thought, why couldn’t a bunch of progressive-minded Christians get together and Occupy the Kingdom? Steal the term back from the Religious Wrong and make words like “Jesus” and “the kingdom of heaven” once again synonymous with concepts like “supporting the underdog” and “helping people”?

    I started a Facebook group with that name: https://www.facebook.com/groups/214499455287993/#!/groups/214499455287993/

    I know there are a lot of existing groups out there like this, but for some reason the phrase “occupy the kingdom” kind of caught my imagination. I envisioned it as sort of a rallying phrase for anyone with progressive ideas, but especially for Christians like Fred who are working so tirelessly to reclaim their own religion.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

     The problem here is that those who are eager to condemn strangers, some ethereal ‘they’ for laziness or some other moral failing, generally have a romantic attraction to the idea of duty and discipline being morally superior to liberty and license.  So if you try to explain to them that rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin, instead of existing in a state of heroic tension against each other, I’m afraid that you’ll only end up causing a few cranial explosions. 

    You find the same basic problem in right-wing attempts to comprehend the law, especially in regards to civil rights and the criminal code.  If you to explain to them that our constitutional rights are not ‘deserved’ because we as Americans are exceptionally good people, but that rights are by definition automatic and unqualified; whargarble. 

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Bachmann’s perspective on employment sounds distressingly familiar, as I’ve run into it many times over the years during bouts of unemployment. I’ve had most of this told me overtly. This is how it breaks down:

    1) The Right’s assertion: “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” 

    The unexpressed part of the assumption: “will not” and “cannot” are the same thing.

    2) The Right’s assertion:  A person who cannot work due to chronic unemployment isn’t TRYING to be employed. If he or she were REALLY trying, he or she would find a job–any job–and start working at it. 

    (The unexpressed assumption: a person who is unemployed is in complete control of whether or not he or she gets hired–far more so than the employer nominally doing the hiring.)

    3) The Right’s assertion: A person who cannot work due to chronic illness, physical disability, mental disability or mental illness is just a drain on society, particularly if he or she is not a senior citizen. If they aren’t working, they shouldn’t be trying to live independently. Their families should be taking care of them.

     (The unexpressed assumption: that ill and disabled people should be forced into a position of perpetual dependency on family members for their own good. This, of course, also presumes that everyone HAS a family. It also presumes that the families of chronically ill people can afford to support them and would be overjoyed to do so.)

    4) The Right’s assertion: A person who cannot work due to discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, lack of religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. is just being whiny and making up excuses for his or her lack of employment.

    (The unexpressed assumption: women, racial minorities, non-Christians, non-believers and LGBTQ people do not matter as much as white Christian straight men. While it is certainly desirable for all people to be working, it is far more desirable for  the people who really MATTER to get jobs. A person who is NOT a white Christian straight male protesting that he or she did not get a job because of discrimination is upsetting the apple cart; implicitly, he or she is saying that he or she matters as much as a white Christian straight male. )

    5) The Right’s assertion:  Women should stay home and take care of their children.

    (The unexpressed assumption: that all women have the financial wherewithal to stay home and take care of their children, rather than going out and working. 

    This is the assumption that guarantees that a poor woman is going to get shafted coming and going. If she stays home with the kids and tries to survive on social programs, she is lazy and should be lambasted for being a welfare queen.  If, on the other hand, she goes out and works one to two jobs to support herself and her family, leaving the kids with neighbors, family or improvised day care, she is a bad mother and she deserves to lose her kids.)

    6) The Right’s assertion: All of the programs that feed the hungry, provide stipends for the old and disabled, provide medical care for the poor, etc. should go, because those benefiting are not working, and if people are not working, they should not eat.

    Christian charity? You’re swimming in it!

    This is basically the whole idea behind the notion that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs should be abolished. What sounds like an affirmation that yes, anyone who wants to work should be ABLE to work instead becomes an accusation, blaming the poor for their own poverty and insisting that taking away the props that enable the marginalized to survive will force the poor to get jobs, become independent and buy into the American Dream.

    Or perhaps they will just die and reduce the surplus population.  

    Either way, they–excuse me, WE–won’t be around to annoy the Right anymore.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.myspace.com/charliebrownesongs/music/songs/eat-meese-74946190

    It may be a Regan era folk song, but it seems rather appropriate.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    2) The Right’s assertion:  A person who cannot work due to chronic unemployment isn’t TRYING to be employed. If he or she were REALLY trying, he or she would find a job–any job–and start working at it. (The unexpressed assumption: a person who is unemployed is in complete control of whether or not he or she gets hired–far more so than the employer nominally doing the hiring.)

    Don’t forget the other unexpessed assumption: a person’s specialized job skills (accountant, plumber, electriction, legal aid) never degrade, even if that person is employed in a totally different field. Working *any* job is automatically better for everyone (the skilled individual, the economy, and society) than trying to work within a higher-paying specialized field. It is inherently better that a CPA work at McDonalds for a year or two at minimum wage (losing their certification and not practicing their high-value skills) than for said CPA to remain unemployed or seek subsidized retaining before returning to the workforce at a competitive salary.

    If those folks knew as little about cooking as they do about economics, they’d die of salmonella after trying to save money on cake costs by skipping the baking stage.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5V7WB5LWONXO22R6D4CYEZGYFE Alan

    Upon rereading Fred’s post, I noticed something I’d missed before. As Fred notes, the passage quoted is intended as a rebuke against people who stop working because they believe Christ’s return is imminent. If anything, this passage should be read as a rebuke to Bachmann and her fellow travelers who refuse to do anything about infrastructure or the environment because they assume that they won’t be around when the bills come due on both those items. IIRC, James Watt (Sec of the Interior under Reagan) famously saw little point in environmentalism because the thought the Rapture was imminent. Nothing has changed in the GOP since then.

  • LL

    RE “That would make her a horrible, ignorant, despicable failure of a human being.”

    Yes… Yes, it would.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Judging by her voting record, Bachmann should have stopped eating last spring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    That’s not too bad, actually! 9% absentee rate isn’t as low as I would expect from someone who believes that the government should have a very small role!

    Although — I don’t mean to brag here — but my boy Gerry Connolly has a 1% absentee rate. He’s only missed 24 votes (out of 2490) –> http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=412272.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’d like to point out, as I have before, that “if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” makes a lot of sense if you’re a preindustrial civilization where most of mankind is living right around subsistence levels, and it takes the full productive output of every person in order to sustain a standard of living. 

    It makes somewhat less sense if you’re a 21st century civilization of billions of people, where industrial machines and vehicles can allow one man to do the same amount of work that took dozens in antiquity. The need to find work for everyone to do means that we need to *invent* a lot of work.

    We need to reevaluate the reasons that we think “if anyone will not work, neither should he eat,” and decide whether or not it’s really a good policy to enforce on a society where every person who chooses not to work isn’t a threat to the stability of the food supply.

  • ako

    “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

    Every time someone not living in a subsistence-level society where starvation is constant threat, they’re saying one of two things about themselves:

    1) They honestly want to see anyone who doesn’t satisfy their personal Puritan work ethics die a horrible lingering death, and are therefore terrible people, or

    2) They don’t think about what they’re trying to do to people before actually advocating it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    What kind of politician actively insults 9% of the population, to their faces?

    Nitpick: The unemployment rate is expressed as a percentage of the labour force, not of the total population. The US labour force participation rate (for the population aged 15+) is around 77%.

    The total percentage of the population (aged 15+) who are in paid work is the employment-to-population ratio, which in the US is around 70%. So if you insult everyone who’s not working (assuming you don’t count children), you’re actually insulting 30% of the population.

    /nitpick

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    I believe she addressed the whole unemployment/jobs issue before. See, if we just get rid of the minimum wage laws, there will be enough jobs for EVERYONE. See how that works?

    Of course, that may be in conflict with the biblical injunction that the worker is worth his/her wages…

  • Anonymous

    Given that, without minimum wage laws, people would have to work even more jobs to survive, I think she’s missing something besides her heart and morals.  I don’t think getting rid of minimum wage laws would create so many jobs that it would not only provide jobs for all of the currently unemployed people, but provide enough jobs for all of the people to survive.

    She’s either an idiot or this is further proof that she wants people starving in the streets and/or eating one another.

  • Demonhype

    I suspect it’s due to some people being too damn rich and powerful and having absolutely no idea how things are for the 99%.  They are no longer “human” in a sense* because they no longer have a connection with the common human experience.  They have mansions and private doctors and cooks and private jets and pay $2000 for a pair of shoes and think that’s a deal.  So for them to lose a million (pocket change to them) is more of a tragedy than for the working poor to lose $2000 or lose their jobs, because they stand to lose “more”–never realizing that they are actually losing less because at that level of obscene wealth money doesn’t have the same value.  A dollar most of us represents food and shelter and the ability to live another day–essentially, life.  A dollar to them is something to blow their nose on, an abstract number with which they can impress their friends.

    Well, that or they genuinely want us to live in a corporate feudal state and see the non-rich as essentially slave labor whose only value is to make them a profit so they can be the person with the largest and most impressive abstract number value, and if the non-rich can’t work eighty hours a week for less than subsistence wages, they should have the good Christian decency to die–quietly and obediently, knowing better than to annoy their master with their petty cries for their lives.

    Maybe a little of both.

    *I said “in a sense”.  As in, with their POV they have little in common with the vast majority of humans and are very much like some kind of alien culture that somehow gets to make all the decisions affecting the rest of us without having any actual understanding of how it affects us.  Or like they live in some alternative reality, like that episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer and Kryten are on opposite sides of a “time dilation” in a single room, each perceiving the other as being in a much faster or much slower time dimension.  Except in this case it’s one-way and allowing the super-rich conservative to see only what they want to see and filter out any inconvenient facts that might rain on their privileged parade.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I read a really good article today analyzing “The Social Network”, which used it as a jumping off point to analyze why the 1% (or specifically, the subset of them responsible for the giant economic shitpile in which we live) act the way they do. He concluded that beyond simple greed for possessions and the desire for social status, there is also a sort of Nietzschean belief that humanity can only achieve true greatness by lording their power over the weak: it’s not enough for them to simply have the wealth — what they actually want is not the having itself, but the denying it to others. 

    In his analysis, it’s not simply that the ultra-rich do not care about the rest of humanity, not that they are willing to crush and oppress and use and abuse the poor as slave labor to enrich themselves: rather, the crushing, the oppression, the use and abuse is the end in itself

    We are ruled by sociopaths.

    Excerpt: 

    But look at what’s been going on lately and it becomes clear that a lot of the top 1% have different and more sinister motivations. Look at the ceaseless drumbeat among the elites for austerity, austerity, austerity. We’ve got debts to pay! We racked up a tab of trillions of dollars dropping bombs on wedding parties and torturing cab drivers to death! Then trillions more on Wall Street’s gambling debts! With debts like those, we can’t afford to pay for things like retirement plans, or medical care, or schools! Of course, we actually can pay for them, pretty easily. It’s not that we don’t have the money. It’s that the money has been siphoned away to a tiny class of plutocrats, and they’re sitting on it. And they’re not doing so in order to buy cocaine and prostitutes and $1405 wastebaskets. It’s so that we can’t have it. It’s so that we lose our retirement plans and our medical care and our schools. Because we are beneath them, and watching us suffer provides them with satisfaction.

    Anyway, the whole thign is here and it’s great. Adam Cadre’s comments on The Social Network 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In his analysis, it’s not simply that the ultra-rich do not care about the rest of humanity, not that they are willing to crush and oppress and use and abuse the poor as slave labor to enrich themselves: rather, the crushing, the oppression, the use and abuse is the end in itself.

    We are ruled by sociopaths.

    People like that should have been tested on the production line, evaulated as dangerously defective, and culled before they could enter the market.  Their poor quality jeopardizes our whole brand!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I ripped this off from an old post of mine:

    In the abstract, “merit” is a wonderful ideal, and a far more efficient way to allocate rewards in a modern society than, say, primogeniture. Of course, in the real world luck plays a role in everyone’s life; some people go to high school in Beverly Hills and some in East St. Louis. But people who believe that all rewards flow from merit tend not to have much sympathy for life’s failures. “As you do well, you convince yourself that anyone can do well,” says Stephen Klineberg, a sociologist at Rice University. “They don’t feel particularly connected to the plight of the working class,” says Blakely. When a factory worker loses his job, the overclass isn’t hostile, just uncomprehending, he says: “It’s a case of ‘What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they go back to school?'”
    Failure just is not an option for the over-class. Elise Gunter, a successful Hollywood lawyer, had dinner with an investment-banker friend recently, who explained his theory that America is becoming a two-tier society. One class will have the autonomy to live where and how it wants; the other will be increasingly constrained and shut out. Pedigree and power, money and education will make the difference, and so he had set out to become as rich and successful as possible. “You couldn’t imagine anyone saying that 10 or 15 years ago,” she said with a shudder. “But he said it matter-of-factly, as if to say, ‘Of course that’s the way it is.’ On the one hand it was disturbing, but part of me agrees with that.”

    This was from a Newsweek article in 1995!

    The way things have gone since then the wealthy in the “overclass” have only grown even more cluelessly out of touch with the trials and tribulations that face ordinary people.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I heard about this in an eighties-era documentary starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. 

  • http://www.bawdyhouse.com James Hanley

    What I’m really confused by is who our gracious host thinks has the responsibility to provide a job for everyone?

    Not that it wouldn’t be great if everyone has a job, but guaranteed employment requires that someone be responsible for being the guarantor.  Who could that be?

  • Matri

    Who could that be?

    Well for one, there’s Herman Cain whose strategy for returning a failing pizza chain to profitability was to close over 200 restaurants and fire thousands of workers.

    That was his strategy. Fire people. Not find out why the pizza was shitty, not find ways to make the pizza better, not even a supervillian’s hypno-ray to make people eat the shitty pizza.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HZDOAAQAB5LXYL5Z4EAV55QMLY AbdulJ

    To be fair, he did do some other things (altering the menu to get rid of low-selling products, increased quality standards, adding more delivery routes to reach more customers). I also don’t think it’s fair to ask him to use magic to force people to eat bad fast food pizza.

    The thing about this is, when you’re the President of the United States, you don’t really have the same options as a turnaround CEO for a failing pizza franchise. Cain can’t “shut down” low-performing states and deport their citizens to other countries.

    He’s going to need to come up with a real plan, and due to his penchant for simplistic slogans as policies* and general refusal to learn anything about domestic and foreign policy issues**  I’m not sure he has the chops to actually do it.

    * (“9-9-9” is catchy, but it has more in common with “Yes We Can” and
    “Hope and Change” than it does with an actual legislative agenda — which is what it’s supposed to be!)
    ** (he plans to rely entirely on ‘advisers’, apparently, which sounds kind of lazy, but whatever)

  • Matri

    I also don’t think it’s fair to ask him to use magic to force people to eat bad fast food pizza.

    … Dude, that was a joke.

  • Nightsky

    ** (he plans to rely entirely on ‘advisers’, apparently, which sounds kind of lazy, but whatever)

    I seem to remember that this was Dubya’s plan, too. It did not work as well as anticipated. No, wait–it was a fucking disaster.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It did not work as well as anticipated. No, wait–it was a fucking disaster.

    Both!

  • Demonhype

    You know how capitalism works:  credit travels up, blame travels down.  If the company does well, it is clearly the great leadership and they deserve all sorts of raises and bonuses and private jets and such.  If it’s failing, it’s clearly because of all the workers–because it couldn’t possibly be anything the corporate “person” did, because everyone knows that corporate “people” are good people and can do no wrong.  Ever.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You know how capitalism works: credit travels up, blame travels down. If the company does well, it is clearly the great leadership and they deserve all sorts of raises and bonuses and private jets and such. If it’s failing, it’s clearly because of all the workers–because it couldn’t possibly be anything the corporate “person” did, because everyone knows that corporate “people” are good people and can do no wrong. Ever.

    I only wish you were kidding. 

    Even at the low levels of the retail chain where I worked after college, we saw that.  They system was structured in such a way where the profit went up the chain, and the blame went down the chain.  A district manager can pass the blame down to their managers, the managers can pass the blame down to their employees.  Commands come from up top to increase profits, and the employees have no voice to say “Okay, but we’ll need this first.” 

    No wonder that company eventually went out of business. 

  • Andrew Glasgow

    Who has the responsibility to provide a job for everyone? Why, anyone who insists that only those who work will eat, of course.

  • Anonymous

    What I’m really confused by is who our gracious host thinks has the
    responsibility to provide a job for everyone?

    Not that it
    wouldn’t be great if everyone has a job, but guaranteed employment
    requires that someone be responsible for being the guarantor.  Who could
    that be?

    Gee, James, I wonder!  Who provides guaranty of last resort in the U.S.?  When banks were to big to fail?  U.S. Federal Government.  When the car industry collapsed?  U.S. Federal Government.  Savings and Loan Debacle? U.S. Federal Government.

    Every dang time capitalism, driven my the managerial class, gets itself all puffed up and then takes a fall, the U.S. Federal Government is there to pick up the pieces, dust off the economy, and get screamed at for being socialist.  Every dang time.

    What I’m wondering is why you would ask who the guarantor would be?  Because, thinking about it for only a half-a-second would tell you who the guarantor would have to be the government.  Why ask?  Are you trying to imply something?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ultimately, one day we need to wake up as a society and realize that we produce so much that the wealth we generate can easily be done on a fraction of the labor.

    If you tot up all the ways people screw around at dead-end office jobs when they’re supposed to be working, I bet the real work done is maybe 3, 4 hours per day out of a nominal 8 hours.

    That means that we’re already effectively where the futurists predicted, just… not in the way they envisioned.

  • Anonymous

    If you tot up all the ways people screw around at dead-end office jobs when they’re supposed to be working, I bet the real work done is maybe 3, 4 hours per day out of a nominal 8 hours.

    Not at my office. We all screw around, what I thought was a lot, but there’s still a hundred Fedex envelopes and another couple dozen UPS envelopes to go out a day and each of them takes two or three minutes to make up the label, and that’s four to six hours right there. Then there’s the piles and piles of papers that go in the regular mail envelopes…then there’s the half hour it takes to seal up all those express envelopes…my job is boring as hell but I damn well earn my money, even with checking Google Reader every time the number of unread items goes up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teh-Bewilderness/100001375292446 Teh Bewilderness

    I have a suspicion she is targeting those lazy kindergarteners who get a free lunch.

  • P J Evans

    Those who complain about people getting unemployment, and living so well on it that they don’t want to work, have obviously never been on unemployment.

  • Tonio

    When I heard a white politician say “unwilling to work,” at first I suspect this is simply a racial euphemism. Then on second thought, I wonder if it has more to do with the Just World Fallacy. Which do you think is more likely, with Bachmann or with her competitors?

  • hf

     James: The deflation of the housing bubble reduced yearly demand by almost $1.2 trillion. Understand, that’s not the amount of paper wealth that disappeared, just the amount that stopped circulating as a result (per year).

    I divided this by the number of people unemployed by the u5 measure linked earlier, and got well over $37000. This seems to equal the average amount of money the government (which, as you may recall, prints money) should be putting back into the economy, per unemployed US citizen, per year. Though obviously this could change quickly because it would freaking fix the economy. See some of Fred’s earlier posts for examples of jobs we could ask the unemployed to do for less than $37,731.

  • Anonymous

    People like that should have been tested on the production line, evaulated as dangerously defective, and culled before they could enter the market.  Their poor quality jeopardizes our whole brand!

    For once, I sorta agree with you on this subject.

  • geldsmaggen

    Why not guarantee employment?
    Why wasn’t that what we did in the first place instead of welfare?
    If the government is paying for these people then they should have to work for it.
    It would also maximize economic productivity. All those unemployed people is wasted labor power that if put to work would mean a greater amount of productivity in the economy and greater standard of living for all.


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