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JediAthos
03-02-2010, 04:19 PM
WASHINGTON – To the increasing discomfort of his fellow Republicans, Sen. Jim Bunning on Tuesday again blocked the Senate from extending unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless.

The Kentucky Republican objected to a request by Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a fellow Republican, to pass a 30-day extension of jobless benefits and other expired measures. The measure would also extend highway programs and prevent a big cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

Bunning has been single-handedly blocking the stopgap legislation since Thursday, which is frustrating Republicans like Collins. She said some 500 people from her state alone would lose their unemployment benefits this week, while doctors will soon have to absorb a 21 percent cut in their Medicare reimbursements.

Frustrated Democrats have been lobbing attacks at Bunning and his fellow Republicans for days. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., implored Bunning to relent and allow a vote.

But Democrats are also reaping political gains by attacking Bunning and his fellow Republicans. All three major cable news networks carried Tuesday's proceedings live, and two other members of the Democratic leadership, Charles Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington, came to the floor to attack Republicans for blocking the legislation.

"Today we have a clear cut example to show the American people just what's wrong with Washington, D.C.," Murray said. "That is because today one single Republican senator is standing in the way of the unemployment benefits of 400,000 Americans."

"He's hurting the American people," Collins said when asked Tuesday if Bunning was hurting the Republican Party.

Bunning said again Tuesday that he opposed the extension because it would add $10 billion to the budget deficit, and he attacked Democrats for abandoning promises to pay for legislation instead of contributing to a budget deficits projected to hit almost $1.6 trillion this year. Bunning proposes to pay for the extension with unspent money from last year's massive economic recovery package, but Reid objected.

Democrats want to pass the measure with the unanimous permission of all senators, a common tactic to speed non-controversial measures through the notoriously balky Senate. Otherwise it could take almost a week to slog through the procedural steps required to take up the measure and defeat Bunning's filibuster.

Instead, Reid has called up a longer-term extension of unemployment benefits that would last through the end of the year, along with a full-year extension of higher Medicare payments to doctors, help for states with their Medicaid budgets, and a continuing a variety of expired tax breaks for individuals and businesses.

Bunning is retiring from the Senate at the end of the current session, which gives fellow party members little leverage to try to force him to change his mind. Bunning has been feuding with his home state colleague, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who privately urged him to retire rather than risk losing the seat to Democrats.

From the AP via Yahoo! News


Now I understand Senator Bunning's point, and I understand that adding to the deficit is not something that should be taken lightly, but it seems to me that the Senator is being something of a horse's backside in all of this. If I've read everything correctly the measures he is preventing an extension of are hurting Americans some of which are bound to be from his home state of Kentucky. He the SOLE REASON these measures have not been extended which may also bring one to question why one senator is able block legislation when there are no other overt objectors...thoughts?

Darth Avlectus
03-02-2010, 04:48 PM
That's why they say 'tread carefully' w.r.t. when making these kinds of decisions. The unfortunate reality here is someone is going to get chafed one way or the other. It was said a lot of difficult decisions would have to be made during these times.

To go through with this, though, I'm not so sure if that was such a good idea for the face of the opposition to the current administration. That's my thoughts.

Totenkopf
03-02-2010, 05:12 PM
Saw this the other day. Unfortunately, Bunning makes sense on this one. If they won't allocate money from the unspent "stimulus" for this gap, when will they start spending money they have and not keep the tab running? What else will emotional blackmail be used for to get money they don't have or won't reallocate resources for? People in this country have become too used to having the govt pick up the pieces (or promise to) over the last 40 or more years. The mantra seems to be that if you've got a problem (that the govt can exploit to its benefit), the govt should be your solution.

urluckyday
03-02-2010, 05:29 PM
^Much agreed. And this is why the postal service should be completely privatized and no other "business" should be run by the government...b/c time and time again it has been proven that the government CANNOT run things efficiently...and it's not supposed. Whether you agree w/ his position or not...1 man being able to stop something that is worth over $10 billion is quite frightening.

Glenn Beck would have a field day with this...

jrrtoken
03-02-2010, 05:58 PM
Bunning also championed deficit spending when it came to the Iraqi War... clearly he's only concerned with the economy's welfare when it's out of his ideological bubble. ::

Totenkopf
03-02-2010, 07:57 PM
Could also be, if you really want to be cynical, that b/c he's not running for reelection... it's his last hurrah, of sorts. One more chance to stick it in his colleagues eyes. Btw, he's already agreed to stop his filibuster.

@urluckyday--agreed on USPS. It's a dinosaur w/an outdated business model that has out-of-control personell costs. &$^#$& unions.

Q
03-02-2010, 08:17 PM
One last attention-whoring, ****-stirring episode of high drama before retirement. :D

JediAthos
03-02-2010, 10:21 PM
I saw earlier this evening on the news that he finally backed down and will allow the senate to vote.

True_Avery
03-04-2010, 03:18 AM
So, because this guy wants to retire in fashion, he wanted to leave 400,000 unemployed Americans without benefits? Unemployed because of the stupid **** the government has done over the last 40 years? Unemployed because he sucks at his job?

There is a line between overspending, and leaving recession created unemployed without money. I'd of been very interested in the poverty line, crime rates, and so on if he had stopped it completely.

The fact that 1 man was almost able to stop 400,000 people from getting benefits is... wow. I'd say I hope he has a hard time sleeping at night, but someone in his position making a call like that gave up his humanity a long time ago, especially for someone feeding off the tit of federal, tax paid benefits.

**** him and his top 2% mentality. I'm glad he's retiring so we have one less of him.

Jae Onasi
03-04-2010, 03:47 AM
So, because this guy wants to retire in fashion, he wanted to leave 400,000 unemployed Americans without benefits? Unemployed because of the stupid **** the government has done over the last 40 years? Unemployed because he sucks at his job?

There is a line between overspending, and leaving recession created unemployed without money. I'd of been very interested in the poverty line, crime rates, and so on if he had stopped it completely.

The fact that 1 man was almost able to stop 400,000 people from getting benefits is... wow. I'd say I hope he has a hard time sleeping at night, but someone in his position making a call like that gave up his humanity a long time ago, especially for someone feeding off the tit of federal, tax paid benefits.

**** him and his top 2% mentality. I'm glad he's retiring so we have one less of him.
He did it to point out that we need to think about where the money for the extra unemployment benefits is going to come from, and he gave it up before the benefits expired. We're in a pile of debt so big right now as a country that I can't even fathom it. Where is the money for all these programs going to come from, hard as it is for any of us to want to consider?

We can't keep printing paper dollars forever. At some point we're going to have to both raise taxes and cut services, and no politician likes to do that.

I can promise to give money to the most worthy causes in the world, but until I actually have that money, I can't actually give it to them. For the gov't to extend unemployment benefits to people without having a reasonable plan in place to actually pay for the benefits is fiscally irresponsible. Sure, it helps those folks for a few more months, but it's going to cost all of us a lot more down the road in interest payments on this exploding national debt.

True_Avery
03-04-2010, 04:24 AM
Yes, but especially with how horrific our banks are right now going without money for too long can be incredibly crippling. These increased debts and so on can also easily make things worse. With the govt actually coming down on Banks, interest rates and so on are at extreme highs, and too many missed bills from the unemployed currently being preyed upon could do worse, if not just set this cycle to reset itself early, extending the recession.

We can cut services and raise taxes, but none of that money being cycled is ours anymore. We've dug the United State's economic grave and now need to decide what to do with it. We got out of our last, sadly, with a war and wartime economic boom.

I don't think we're going to be so lucky this time. If we want to climb out of our grave, our goal should not be taxes, services, or anything else. At this point they are stopgaps for the real problem; industry. We outsource everything now, and "Buying American" is more of a joke than it is reality.

There is no way we'll recover this debt with taxes and cut services. The grave is deeper than we as a nation are tall right now. We need to build up with industry, factories, business, etc of our own. We need to make product and sell to ourselves, and sell more to other countries instead of borrowing money.

400,000 unemployed American's don't need benefits taken away to get by. They need ****ing jobs. If the government isn't willing to give jobs, then they at least need to take care of the citizens they are currently crippling. Letting a million, if not more Americans just crumble to the ground in a heap helps no-one. Maybe this was just for a few months, maybe it would have lasted longer, but right now we need to keep ourselves afloat at least. You let a lot of people fall, inevitably more are going to fall with them.

Problem is, its an almost no win situation. They let 400,000 and probably more Americans sit dry for a few months if not longer, or use more money to try to keep them afloat. Either way, we lose money. 400,000+ Americans racking up debts for months, missing payments, and so on seems to only fuel the immeasurably corrupt banks who drowned most of this nation in the first place.

All stop gaps, but I'd prefer a stopgap that keeps boats afloat instead of just letting a ton sink. Keep everyone currently in a grave from going further under so we have enough stable workers left to take over the jobs we hopefully will be making.

However, he is still an ***hole using tax given federal benefits deciding that federal benefits are wrong. How about that **** put forth a bill to cut the enormous salaries and benefits of those in the Senate? I'm sure they could help pay for the 400,000 people he wants to cut benefits for while he goes into a happy, rich retirement.

We're stuck in a grave. We have no war to boost moral in this country and unify our currently destroyed party system. Those in charge are still useless trash left over from the Vietnam party reformations, and our banks and businesses are far more interested in bailouts and eating as much of the nation as they can instead of creating jobs and cutting outsourcing. Our banks especially are sinking us faster than anything else, more interested in capitalistic manipulation than the safety of their clients.

It also doesn't help that increasing taxes during a recession could only make things worse. I'd prefer, at the moment, the money remain with the consumer instead of being wasted by our government, so long as they don't care to make any jobs.

Basically, how do people pay increased taxes unemployed? If we are honestly considering cutting benefits to millions for the sake of our non-existent money instead of trying our hardest to build industry, then there is nothing for increased taxes and cut services to save.

(and yes, I understand it was just for 30 days but I'm arguing the principle behind it)

JediAthos
03-04-2010, 09:31 AM
I am of the opinion that United States should return to the gold standard when it comes to our money. I think that if we were able to do that it would force these politicians to think before they enact bills that would require massive spending.

Unfortunately Congress, regardless of who is in office, enjoys spending way too much. I think it would take a very bold group of people including the President to return the country to the gold standard, but I still believe that's what needs to be done.

Totenkopf
03-04-2010, 09:34 AM
Given that gold is a finite commodity, and that the size of America's economy has mushroomed since being taken off the standard, what impact do you supose that would have?

JediAthos
03-04-2010, 10:08 AM
I'm sure that the impact would probably be fantastic...most likely not in a good way, at least in the beginning. I also realize that my suggestion is very likely not the most practical one in the world, but I suppose my point is that at some point we've got to stop spending with the attitude that "we'll just make more" which it seems to me is they way Congress works these days.

mimartin
03-04-2010, 10:17 AM
I am of the opinion that United States should return to the gold standard when it comes to our money. Gold Production 2008: 1. China 2. South Africa 3. USA, 4 Australia 5. Russia 6. Canada 7 Indonesia

What is wrong with this picture?

You can still borrow money under the gold standard the same way you do now.


Bunning was an idiot. He allowed the National Flood Insurance Program to expire. This could have had a devastating effect to home sales had it not been correct quickly. Not to mention what this failure would have done to families had there actually been a disaster. If he really to something why didn’t he the last 9 years that spending has been out of control.

JediAthos
03-04-2010, 10:23 AM
I agree that you can still borrow under the gold standard but it would be a finite amount, and you couldn't simply "make more" money. Like I said, I know it's not really practical especially given the current state of the global economy...

edit: I also agree the Bunning is an idiot :)

Totenkopf
03-04-2010, 10:24 AM
Frankly, Bunning is not alone in being "an idiot". We've had an out of control congress (who actually decides how much is spent and taxed/borrowed---the president proposes, congress disposes) in the US for quite some time. We're equally remiss for sending the same jackasses back to govt w/~a 95+/- % reelection rate. We're merely getting what we deserve in the end for "leaving it to the experts" while we go off and enjoy our bread and circuses.

mimartin
03-04-2010, 10:35 AM
I agree that you can still borrow under the gold standard but it would be a finite amount, and you couldn't simply "make more" money.

Yes, but the US would have little control over the value of such a currency. So if China or Russia wanted to destroy the US economy (even worse than we already destroy it), all they would have to do is flood the gold market.

Defeated without firing a shot.

Jae Onasi
03-04-2010, 10:45 AM
I'm not saying Bunning isn't an idiot. Obviously this was a showboat thing for him. He's a lame duck, so he can do that kind of stuff. However, Pelosi & Co. are doing absolutely nothing to help the debt situation. The entire country is in a world of hurt, I know, and having been out of a job myself a few times due to layoffs and office closures, I sympathize with those who are on unemployment. However, Congress cannot possibly keep spending the way we're spending. Americans, sadly, need to learn they can't spend the way they've been spending, either. Part of the economic woes we're experiencing is in part caused by banks being greedy, Congress being stupid, but also because we as a culture have lived on credit with the idea that we'd 'pay it tomorrow'. Well, guess what, tomorrow is here, and the people who overextended themselves on credit are now learning fiscal responsibility the hard way.

Regarding the gold standard, I don't think it'll ever happen. Congress doesn't want to be limited, and I think at this point it would absolutely destroy the economy.

mimartin
03-04-2010, 10:54 AM
I was not was not saying that making a stand for financial responsibility was idiotic. Wish he would have done it in the past 9 years. I was saying that allowing the National Flood Insurance Program to expire was stupid and could have had devastating consequences both to the economy and to families in general.

If you want your message received, timing is just as important as the message and Bunning failed terribly in that department.

JediAthos
03-04-2010, 11:16 AM
I agree mimartin. I don't have a problem with him taking a stand, I do have a problem with the timing and the issue he chose to take a stand over.

I do have a question though as I don't seem to remember this from my government class back in high school: how is it that one man can delay something that there are no other overt objections to?

I don't need an indepth answer, but if someone can give me the gist I'd appreciate it :)

Totenkopf
03-04-2010, 11:38 AM
Arcane Senatorial procedures are the likely culprit.

mimartin
03-04-2010, 11:44 AM
He wasn’t actually blocking anything. It takes a unanimous vote of all Senators to put a side procedural steps in order to speed measures through the Senate. What Bunning did was make them go the long way around which would have taken a week or longer.

Darth Avlectus
03-04-2010, 08:39 PM
I was not was not saying that making a stand for financial responsibility was idiotic.

I should certainly hope not. :p That's one of the principle reasons of our agreements on things.

If you want your message received, timing is just as important as the message

Fair enough. I guess.