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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 3, 2022 by Tony Wikrent   Strategic Political Economy “America Is Sliding Into the Long Pandemic Defeat” Ed Yong [The Atlantic, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 6-28-2022] “In 2018, while reporting on pandemic preparedness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I heard many people joking about the fictional 15th articl […]
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Peeing in a cup for UI benefits

I’m not sure politicians are getting it.  Some of us have been laid off multiple times and others just can’t find a job.  It’s not like we’re passing the dutchy around because we have nothing better to do.  Nevertheless, Congress is determined to cut our benefits and test our pee for illegal substances:

The duration of federal jobless benefits — which generally kick in after 26 weeks of state-provided benefits run out — was reduced to a maximum of 73 weeks in high-unemployment states and 63 weeks in average states, compared with as much as 99 weeks currently. That’s better than the 59 weeks that Republicans had called for, but it is still stingy at a time when there are 5.5 million people who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

Democrats successfully blocked Republican demands to impose uncalled-for conditions on applicants for jobless benefits, including drug testing and requiring them to be high school graduates or working toward an equivalency degree. (A fig leaf requires applicants to be drug-tested if they lost their job because of a failed drug test or if they are seeking a job that generally requires a drug test.)

I believe the NYTimes is calling this a good compromise.  I guess it’s because none of them have to be drug tested like some low life junky who can’t hold down a job because they’re high all of the time.  We’re supposed to be grateful that they are only requiring this of people who lost their jobs because of previous drug use.  But we know what they’re really thinking.  They’re thinking that they just want to be mean and make our lives even more miserable, lowering our morale and assaulting our dignity.

Yes, I can hardly wait until we chemists and biologists, pharmacologists and engineers have to go down to the unemployment office to take a pee in front of some officer of the law.  Just a couple of years ago, we looked like nice, polite middle class men and women, driving our Dodge Caravans and Toyota Priuses to work and back.  But once we got that pink slip, we shed our labcoats and became wild and crazy fiends.  Sex fiends too.  We just can’t get enough.  And we listen to Def Leopard and Pink Floyd all day long.  (I’m dating myself, aren’t I?  Must consult number 1 child to see what the debauched are doing these days)

Come on, Congress, drug testing?  Really?  We’re drug designers and chemists.  We could whip up a batch of something that you haven’t made illegal yet that will make meth look like baby aspirin. Can we please be serious?  What a phenomenal waste of money.  Money, I might add, that would be better used to extend the UI benefits.  I’m not worried- yet.  But reducing the bennies at a time when COBRA is already eating up half of a month’s benefit is not especially compassionate.  How about NOT making us pee in a cup and give us the same consideration as the previous 99-ers?  Or would that interfere with the maximum pain that you intend to inflict just before the election?

Is that the plan?  Everyone pointing fingers?  The Democrats will be whining, “Don’t look at us, we didn’t cut your bennies and make you pee in a cup”, while the Republicans will have another temper tantrum, shrieking, “If Barack Obama and the Democrats had only cut the deficit, we wouldn’t have to apply these thumb screws, gouge out your eyes and put you on the rack.  By the way, we’re going to bill you for the screws, racks and icepicks”.

Hey!  I have an idea!  Let’s vote all of them out and once they’re all unemployed, let’s make them pee in a cup, have them tested for AIDS (*I* passed, will you?), make them wear ankle bracelets and phone their mothers before they go anywhere, do a background check on all of their friends and make them attend mandatory counseling where they will have to acknowledge their addiction to doing stupid things followed by making amends to all of the scientists and other innocent working people they have insulted and whose lives and careers have been ruined while their elected officials played mean-spirited political games.

I can hardly wait.