Saturday, October 16, 2010

“What’s the News Across The Nation?”

“We have got the Information!”  Well, this is a little homage to Laugh-In, my generation’s SNL Weekend Update.

In the past week we have heard that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that unemployment and food stamps increase job creation.  The problem is that these payments are known as transfer payments and are not counted in the calculation of our national GDP.  Her statement got an almost universally negative reaction.  Normally, this type of statement would go unnoticed, but it came from a person in power who was a major player in the creation of the stimulus package. 

Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut took almost two minutes in a debate to explain how a job is made, and the reviews are practically unanimous that he got the answer wrong. 

Now even though these two news items are about Democrats, the Republicans have nothing to brag about either.  I am planning a few choice bashings of their “misunderstandings” in future posts.  There will be balance.

The point is the same one I made in a previous post.  Politicians who are making economic policy in this country seem not to have a sufficient knowledge of economics to pass an introductory course in the subject.  Quiz them in finance, same result.  And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in.

My second reaction to Richard Blumenthal’s inability to explain how a job is created is that it is obvious to me that he was never unemployed.  He appears never to have gone through the experience, and had he done so, he probably would have found himself in a church or a community center that sponsored support groups for people looking for work.  The first group lecture is why a job is made.  The explanation is that employers create so much demand for products and services that they create jobs to do work that they cannot do themselves.  I know, because I have heard the lecture. 

How can he feel the pain of people who ARE out of work when he was born economically secure?  I mean how can he really identify with people who have had to stand in line to file for unemployment?  It is an intensively leveling experience.  I met a senior defense engineer and a construction worker in the same line.  There were men and women, people in suits and people in jeans, and people of all races and ages and backgrounds.  The pride of a job flows out of you in the line no matter who you are. 

They were great laughs, Dan and Dick, …… George too.  

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