December 8, 2013

Mary Matalin is a prime example of what makes these shows a waste of bandwidth, and her husband isn't much better. On the political roundtable segment of This Week, they moved right to spending, code for the secret budget deal we're not hearing about, and Matalin just couldn't resist a dog whistle, saying that "real Americans understand we cannot continue spending at the rates we are."

Last time I looked, my birth certificate said I am a "real American." I've considered myself one for my entire life. What I understand is that we can spend on everyone but people if you're a Republican. Every conservative likes to yowl about spending, but none of them will give up their addiction to spending on the military-industrial complex, or farm subsidies to wealthy agribusiness, or oil subsidies to oil companies making more and more money at taxpayers' expense. They have no objection to spending in the form of tax preferences to hedge fund managers and howl at the prospect of levying a small trading tax on Wall Street.

But mention an unemployment benefit extension and the cries go up! Mention restoring SNAP cuts and you'd think they'd been stabbed with a dull knife. And please do not dare to mention doing something solid for the middle class like subsidize health insurance costs, because that sends them into a catatonic state where they rock back and forth and cry "Repeal! Repeal! Repeal!"

I'm really worried that unemployment benefits will not be extended, and that will cause our family a lot of pain, along with many others. Here's a dirty little secret no one wants to discuss when the employment numbers come out and are better than normal: Those dropping out of the workforce for good with no prospects to return are the group between 55 and 65, who are terminated for bogus reasons so that employers avoid accusations of age discrimination. But really, it is age discrimination.

No one wants to hire older people when they can get younger kids with that college degree for half the price. No one wants the benefit costs, so they invent lots of bogus excuses about productivity and job training to cover for the real reasons. Those of us who get the privilege of waiting until we're nearly 67 before we're eligible for Social Security benefits are squeezed the hardest: high costs for health insurance, no income prospects, and now possibly no unemployment insurance to at least ease some of the pain until we decide it's hopeless and just give up altogether.

I guess we're not "Real Americans." Never mind that we paid for the damn Bush wars while we were working. The only real Americans, as far as Matalin is concerned anyway, are those who think anyone in need of a leg up is a moocher.

To hell with that.

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