In an effort to make sure that those who lost their jobs for the duration of the shutdown got massive relief, the Democrats forced a huge change in unemployment benefits which would allow many to make considerably more while on furlough than they would on the job and it would be paid for four months. Why didn't they make it up to the level of their salary and terminate it once back to work? Well, a few Republican Senators picked up on the problem and asked that question and I found the discussion quite enlightening. All of the Democrats hid behind their claim that state unemployment offices worked with aging software systems and it was impractical. But why the four months, not a plan that would at least terminate upon their employment coming available again? To that, several Democrats went so far as to say why would it be a problem if they got more than they should? Then they cited what they said was how workers were exploited by the rates on hand and even Bernie Sanders interjected with his socialist jargon. Was anyone's arm twisted to take the job they agreed to and signed on for. Give me a break.
Then it even got funny as Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) tried to cite his state's Labor Secretary and the state's unemployment payment rate as a reason. When he calculated out the difference between his state's current rate and the impact of the proposed rate in the bill, he made a huge mistake. It was one that a basic understanding of the math involved would have eliminated. For you see, in Delaware the current rate is capped at four hundred dollars per week, but the new rate would add six hundred per week for about sixteen weeks. Carper gave a figure including the added federal amount of six hundred a week for the month, not adding that number each week for the new total amount of benefits available. So, Carper wondered why the Republicans were upset since his calculation showed a rate increase of pay under the new bill of $2200 per month, not outlandish by anyone's reasoning. When a Republican Senator provided what the answer would really be, or $4000 per month, Carper looked flushed, then said he'd have to check the computation with his state Labor Secretary. If anyone doesn't think that an employee or even a company owner might not try to game the system with such a lavish pay picture, they are not being realistic. If someone is guaranteed $4000 per month as opposed to, say $2500 a month normally, they really don't understand the problem we are facing. It makes it very lucrative for the employee to say he'll come back to work at the end of the four months, not when the job is open again if sooner. Again, tying the payment to the date of reopening would solve much of the problem, it would still be too high but we could probably stomach it, yet the Democrats weren't willing to budge.
And that brings me to something I noticed as I listened to the Senator speak. Now I'm sure Tom Carper is a fine man and I know he served as a Naval Flight Officer in the Vietnam War, and before anyone says I'm broaching discrimination over age, I will tell you that I am the same age (within six months) as Mr. Carper. But Carper has spent his entire life since his Navy days in public service, or government. He was the State Treasurer of Delaware, a United States Congressman, then Delaware Governor and finally Senator in Washington from Delaware in 2001. To get up before the Senate, looking somewhat bewildered about the issues as he stuttered a bit while making such a basic, but expensive mistake, in discussing the issue at hand makes me wonder if he might want to consider retirement soon. After all, at age 73, most of us want to slow down a bit and I truly don't believe many can stand the late night hours in a heated Senate discussion. With his educational background in Economics, a mistake like the one he made is really unconscionable. And remember, he is one of the younger members of the old gentleman's club in the Senate that hangs on for dear life due to their love of perks, attention and privilege. But then again, if that is what the people want, I guess that's what we'll continue to seek.
One thing else is important to remember. Only an older guy like Donald Trump can really stand up to the pressure and the heat without wilting. Our President is a man who can outlast anyone in a political battle, age not withstanding. We need to sharpen our smarts when we look at things, America, and think about these kinds of things instead of caring more about how politically correct a politician is. Put that one in your pipe, will you?