Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's The Jobs, Stupid

     The Labor Department's hiring report for May came out in Saturday's newspapers, and it wasn't pretty. Just 54,000 jobs were created – far less than the expected 150,000. Although the private sector added 83,000 workers – the lowest monthly total in the past year - they were offset by the loss of 28,000 jobs in local governments – firefighters, police, teachers and clerks. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that up to 300,000 new jobs a month are required to significantly affect the unemployment rate.
     Meanwhile, back in Washington, the figures elicited what can best be described as a collective “ho-hum,” as Congress decided to dance around the subject of raising the debt ceiling. Without such action, the nation will soon begin defaulting on its debts, with a corresponding increase in interest rates. Through April, interest on the national debt for fiscal year 2011 is on track to surpass 2010's total of $4.13B. That's 413 followed by nine zeros! Imagine, if you can, the effect of a rate increase!
     But I digress. Congress is not dillydallying about an increase in the ceiling so much as on tying such an increase to a balanced budget requirement.
     And how does one create such a budget? According to the Republicans, it is done by giving tax cuts to the rich and paying for them by some or all of the following:
Emasculate the National Labor Relations Board.
Kill the funding for Obamacare.
Eliminate all taxpayer funded payments for abortions.
Eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Public Radio.
Hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency.
     Even if I thought some of these “suggestions” have merit – which I don't – I believe they are subjects that should be discussed during the preparation of the budget – not the raising of the debt ceiling.
     In the meantime, any meaningful discussion about job creation has been pushed to the back burner. The focus has shifted from economic pragmatism to ideological purity. The budget is due for completion in September – jobs are needed now!
     Where are legislators who can prioritize and enact what is good for the country? Where is Henry Clay when you need him?
     Today I will begin posting excerpts from my latest book, “There Are Only Seven Jokes.” Enjoy.
     The statement “There are only seven jokes - all the rest are variations,” has been around for a long time, but no one ever seems to know what the original seven were. The concept of exactly seven (not six or eight) original jokes has usually been attributed to Sigmund Freud, whose 1905 book Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious defined seven joke techniques: Absurdity, Allusion, Analogy, Exaggeration, Faulty reasoning, Play on words and Reproach. In order to classify a particular joke in Freud's system, it is first necessary to understand his definition of Analogy, Exaggeration, etc.
     Introduction – There Are Only Seven Jokes.

“There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” and are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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