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I went grocery shopping today -- a fairly typical weekend activity in a house of four.  When I reached the counter to check out, the clerk, a young man with a big smile on his face, greeted me with a "Hi, how're ya doin'?"  I told him I was fine and asked how he was.

"I'm great; happy to be working."

I smiled back at him and said something along the lines of, "Yeah, these days that's a good thing."

Still grinning, he said.  "Yes, sir, it is," and then shifted the conversation to what a beautiful day it was.  He didn't complain about having to be inside on a lovely day.  He didn't seem to be bothered by the fact that the store was crowded and he'd been on his feet for hours.  He was working, and he was happy.  You've got to admire that.

Those folks in Congress who dismissed provisions of the stimulus bill as "make work," or as "pork" miss the point entirely.  There are literally millions of people in this country who have no job, but who still have mortgages to pay or car payments to make, children to feed or elderly parents to support, health insurance to buy and dreams of maybe taking someone they love to the beach or the mountains.  They don't care if their next paycheck is for weatherizing schools, or repairing government buildings, or rehabilitating trails.  They care only that they can go to work everyday and bring home some income.  They want to live with dignity; they want to get by without handouts.  And you'd think that Republicans, who spent sixty years railing against welfare in every form, would WANT to give people jobs.  You'd think they might understand that in order to create jobs you have to spend money.  The other day I listened to my idiot Senator, Lamar Alexander, whining about this stimulus package being "a spending bill, and not a stimulus bill."  How do you think you get stimulus, moron?!  You have to spend money, and everytime you call for tax cuts and claim that those cuts aren't spending -- they are -- and don't raise the debt -- they do -- you're lying, either to yourself or to your constituents.

Creating jobs in the midst of an economic crisis so that people who need work can take care of themselves and their families is just about the most noble undertaking I can imagine for my government.  Thank goodness our President, most Congressional Democrats, and three brave Republican Senators understand this.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 15th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about that clerk all day. I felt I owed this to him, though he'll probably never see it. Thanks, Alis.
Feb. 15th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
Only a handful in this country don't want to work. The rest are willing to do anything, even digging ditches, to keep their families fed and their mortgage paid. We have our pride, but for some reason that doesn't seem to matter to the GOP.

I just don't understand the Republican mantra that things aren't as bad as they seem. What newspapers are they reading? I have three neighbors who are unemployed, two of them in the same family. I track the stock market and almost every single company's stock has dropped far below its true value. Britain is equally bad shape, as it most of the world. It's bloody ugly and going to get even uglier before we're done. To say we need to chill out and it'll get better is just ignorant. It might be fine for the lawmakers, but it's not for the folks at the factories and the stores who are being laid off and are losing their homes.

Personally I would have preferred a more carefully crafted stimulus package, but at least there's one in the works. It won't be the last one, I can promise you. We're not out of the woods yet. The hounds are still at our heels.

Feb. 15th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, the "things aren't really that bad" line doesn't seem very smart. And you're right: this is not the last bill aimed at economic recovery that we're going to need.
Feb. 15th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC)
Spending may be needed but not wild and loose spending. There are things in this bill that, while noble, do not readily stimulate the economy. They may create some jobs, but you have to look at the jobs created. They would mostly be in construction. Who works in a large chunk of the construction market? Illegal immigrants. So the majority of the jobs created will not even go to American citizens.
Then they say that we might get a bump in our paychecks by $13. Wow. That is really going to keep someone from losing their home or feeding their family.

I am totally for trying to put people back to work, but this is a poorly crafted bill and will do little to actually stimulate the economy.
Feb. 15th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, Mark, but saying that most construction jobs go to illegal immigrants is a gross and inaccurate generalization, and I believe that making this into an exercise in immigrant bashing is a bad idea. The fact is that construction jobs are exactly what are needed right now. We have serious infrastructure issues that need to be addressed. We can save millions of dollars in energy expenditures with renovation and weatherization projects while also putting people to work. These are construction jobs, and they are of vital importance. If some of those people are LEGAL immigrants, so be it. There's nothing wrong with that. And as for illegals, unlike private industry, which can get away with hiring illegals, federal and state governments HAVE to have proof of citizenship before hiring.

The fact is, the vast majority of what's in this bill is highly stimulative, and while $13 every two weeks might not seem like much, that's well over three hundred dollars a year. For some people, that is a sizable chunk of change. The tax cut that's in the bill is $400.00 per worker for the year. Why is that significant if the paycheck bump isn't? The paycheck bump is immediate; tax cuts are not (see last week's discussion).
Feb. 15th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Good post. Thank you.
Feb. 15th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mark.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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