Talk that the federal government may not afford paying out more unemployment benefits may leave me in a financial pickle, but more importantly it leaves me with one of those thorny moral dilemmas.
Sen. Jim Bunning (R, KY) is staging a one-man blockade to shut down any expansion of unemployment benefits. Later, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) joined him on this, saying the federal government needs to figure out a way to pay for additional benefits first.
“Congress just passed the so-called pay-go legislation which is supposed to require that we find offsets or other savings if we are going to spend money,” Kyl said. “So what’s the first thing we do? We exempt this bill from it.”
Bunning, the baseball Hall Of Famer, laid what older military veterans may call a “T.S. card” on a $10 billion Senate plan to extend unemployment benefits. (Those who didn’t hear Bunning’s actual comments will probably still get the drift without a lot of explanation.)
While the Senate bill stalls, there’s the spectre that benefits may terminate this month for more than 1.1 million former workers. At least, that’s what the Democrats are saying, and most of those cats in the halls of Congress are real good at dealing out the exaggerated numbers and scare tactics.
Meanwhile, I will find out fairly quickly what happens next. I get inside information on this kind of news in my mailbox every week. See, with the exception of whatever writing income I scratch out, I’ve been living on unemployment. And hating it.
While some folks can carve a whole lifestyle out of waiting for that gummint check, I’m not one of those. It goes against everything I believe, everything that’s important to me. Plus, it doesn’t mesh with my personal style. I’m an action type, and not having a regular job leaves me all jacked up and no place to go. In short, it turns me into Beelzebub.
To be honest, I’m not sure where this unemployment compensation comes from. Well, I kind of do. It’s funny money, surgically removed from working people and business owners or, failing that, printed up as needed by the federal government.
OK, here’s the moral dilemma. Those who know me through this space have probably figured by now that I’m not big on government assistance. Shoot, I’m not big on government anything. I’d rather have a battery acid enema than deal with all these civil service types. A friend suggested I might consider trying for food stamps. I politely told her no, and the politeness was only because she’s such a dear friend. But I’m not hurting. I can do great things with beans, rice, and hamburger. Even with my most expensive grocery item (premium coffee) my food bill is practically zip.
But you see what’s going on. I’m writing about these conservative/libertarian principles, and I try to live in a manner that’s at least somewhat consistent with what I write. My views have not changed, and don’t expect me to start pounding a share-the-wealth message any time soon. I don’t roll that way.
See the dilemma here? While some may suggest I just get what I can, shut up, and hang my convictions, I’m just not that type of person.
Strategy time, from my personal notes: I’m still looking for work, but have widened my options. Part time would be wonderful; in fact that’s the best scenario I can think of. It was less than two months ago that I started freelance writing in earnest, so I’m just scratching the surface there. Right now, as long as it’s legal I don’t really care what the part time job is; it’s not like I’m going to be married to it or anything. I have three (or four, depending on how you count them) paid writing gigs going on right now, and already at this early stage they amount to half a paycheck. A part-time gig, paying about what I’m making now in unemployment, would be gravy.
Entrepreneurs and high-level economists are smart enough to know that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. But with this economy being what it is, that truth has filtered down to the average folks, those who punch a clock every day. The economy is so uncertain that if you’re depending on just one income source for your daily bread, you’re inviting trouble.
While some do quite nicely for themselves while waiting for that gummint cheese, I don’t see how they do it.