Someone might want to call President Barack Obama’s attention to the main message of Paul Krugman’s latest Op-Ed column in The New York Times: This whole bipartisanship idea isn’t going to catch on in Congress. Krugman takes the recent example of Sen. Jim Bunning’s bill-blockading gymnastics, along with the responses from a couple of Bunning’s peers, to illustrate his somewhat depressing point. —KA
Paul Krugman in The New York Times:
Take the question of helping the unemployed in the middle of a deep slump. What Democrats believe is what textbook economics says: that when the economy is deeply depressed, extending unemployment benefits not only helps those in need, it also reduces unemployment. That’s because the economy’s problem right now is lack of sufficient demand, and cash-strapped unemployed workers are likely to spend their benefits. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay.
But that’s not how Republicans see it. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”