Well, they finally hammered out a deal on the tax situation. I an neither bummed out nor elated. I got nothing out of the Bush era cuts and, since I was unemployed last year, I got nothing out of the low and middle income cuts Obama's people put in as and economic stimulus. I am very cynical and very skeptical, though, because I don't believe either side when they spout their sanctimonious sentiments about these measures. If the business and individuals who are getting the lion's share of the benefit of the tax measure really wanted to or saw an economic need to hire more people they would have done so already. Big businesses are sitting on piles of cash and aren't spending it on employment. Smaller businesses don't see the demand for their goods and services. Either way I don't think that the tax cuts are going to help the employment situation. The continuation of extended unemployment benefits will help those who qualify. But how many will qualify? Large numbers of the unemployed are reaching the end of even the extended 99 week benefits with no job in sight.
This MSNBC story is rather typical of the American condition: we spend more and get less. But what I also notice is that the most basic question isn't answered: education for what? When half of the college graduates are unemployed and half of those employed are in jobs that don't require a college education shouldn't we ask that question?
Nancy Altman at Firedoglake considers something that has been nagging in my mind since I saw the account of the tax compromise that provides a Social Security tax holiday of 2% on workers' contributions. Is this simply the camel's nose under the edge of the tent? Will this 'compromise' make it easier to make bigger and more painful cuts? The Deficit Commission couldn't get a 14 vote majority to send its proposals to the Congress and Senate directly but this might get the ball rolling on enacting this part of their program--to the detriment of us all. And George Washington writing at Naked Capitalist today demolishes the arguments that the cut will either stimulate the economy or foster hiring.