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So just starve already

January 31, 2014 - Harry Eagar
It's been a while since I've felt the need to state the obvious, rather than just restating what others before have said better and sooner. But as we say in east Tennessee, even a blind sow finds an acorn once in a while, and if the acorn is right there shoved up against her nose, what could be easier?

Nevertheless, I have not seen anyone add up 2 of the bigger political stories of the first month of 2014 to see what happens.

I refer of course to the Republicans' successful (last month) scuttling of extended unemployment benefits and their current intentions of keeping them scuttled; and President Obama's meeting today with business bosses to ask them to consider hiring people who have been out of work since -- oh, let's not shillyshally -- since the Bush crash.

What Obama, who is unfailingly polite to these idiots because they are rich, powerful idiots, did not (at least publicly) point out to them is the shocking (shocking, not surprising) study by Rand Ghayad of Northeastern U. As the Washington Post summarizes:

"He sent out 4,800 fake resumes at random for 600 job openings. And what he found is that employers would rather call back someone with no relevant experience who's only been out of work for a few months than someone with more relevant experience who's been out of work for longer than six months."

Like every other part of Republican economic theory (and especially Tea Party theory), their version of life collapses at the first application of reality.

According to them -- and I am not going to bother with links; if you've stayed this long, you've heard the phony story many, many times -- "paying people not to work" discourages them from going out and taking whatever jobs there are.

Except, 1) there aren't jobs; and 2) even where there are, the geniuses who run American business will not hire them.

As I have said before, when you strip away all the foofaraw from Reaganomics, it's just David Ricardo's Iron Law of Wages:

"The clear and direct tendency of the poor laws is in direct opposition to these obvious principles: it is not, as the legislature benevolently intended, to amend the condition of the poor, but to deteriorate the condition of both poor and rich; instead of making the poor rich, they are calculated to make the rich poor; and whilst the present laws are in force, it is quite in the natural order of things that the fund for the maintenance of the poor should progressively increase till it has absorbed all the net revenue of the country, or at least so much of it as the state shall leave to us, after satisfying its own never-failing demands for the public expenditure."

When I was in college, a long time ago, a teaching assistant in ECON 101 summarized it more bleakly: Wages will always be set at just above the point where the worker starves to death.

And, just to put the cherry on top, Ricardo wrote when the "never-failing demands for the public expenditure" were going to pay for the war against Napoleon. Just like today except that England won her war, and the Republicans lost both of theirs.


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