Somebody Has to Make Hard Choices

Reading about the petering out of unemployment benefits, I have to admit some cynicism. The hand-scribed note in the border of my newspaper notes that people want jobs, but the federal government is giving them expensive and counterproductive healthcare “reform,” but it’s clear that a great number of our fellow citizens expect it all. But the article doesn’t provide much meat for that discussion, so I’ll settle for a tangential juxtaposition. First:

[Unemployed warehouse worker Edward Gullage, of Pawtucket] is looking into state-sponsored training courses in plumbing, carpentry and landscaping, while searching for work. He lives with his wife, who has a job, but once his benefits expire, the couple will have to make hard choices about their spending, he said.


Opponents [of renewal of federal benefit programs], including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, do not want to renew the programs if it means higher taxes (which they said will kill jobs) or increased borrowing (which they said will boost the national debt, burdening future generations).

Somebody has to make hard choices. Actually, I’d argue emphatically that the government’s options for decreasing spending are quite the opposite of difficult, and it would be nice to believe that the Gullages in our current economy understand as much. My cynicism derives from my suspicion that they do not and would prefer, with the Democrats, to push the hard choices on to others. Unfortunately, those others represent the segment of American society on whom we must rely for an economic recovery.

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