A Modest Proposal

Resolved: That the nation's unemployed pay for renewed tax cuts for the nation's high-income earners.

The term "modest proposal" was popularized by Jonathan Swift, who argued in a satirical essay that the Irish should sell off their "surplus" children as food.

I'd like to offer a proposal that may sound just as satirical, but is based in sound dollars and cents.

We know that Senator Stabenow brought S. 3706 to the Senate floor, just as she promised to. She submitted a discharge resolution that failed to gain unanimous consent, thanks to the objection of Senator George LeMieux (R-FL). His objection?

"we need to know what it's going to cost, we need to know how we're going to pay for it so we don't put this debt on our children and grandchildren."

Those are fine enough words from the Senator, but they tend to lose their rhetorical strength when Republicans in the Senate are willing to fight for renewed tax cuts for incomes over $250,000, without providing offsets for the estimated $700 billion the tax cuts will cost.

Well, let's talk costs, and let's talk who's going to pay.

We've seen testimony that unemployment benefits grow the economy: they're one of the biggest bangs for the buck around. One dollar of unemployment benefits grows the economy by $1.61 of GDP within one year.

Let's use that $1.61.

Here's my proposal: for each dollar of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC), including additional tiers, that Congress allocates, let's also trigger 61 cents in tax cuts for incomes greater than $250,000.

For example: the last EUC extension was estimated to cost roughly $33 billion - if the econometric models are correct, that extension will grow the economy by $53 billion, and from our modest proposal, would trigger $20 billion in tax cuts.

There aren't many sources of PAYGO funding available: EUC would have to displace other discretionary spending, and that only takes from one group to give to another - a win-lose situation. Likewise, using ARRA funds would take stimulus dollars away from other programs, and TARP funds are restricted-use.

Using EUC to trigger tax breaks, however, would be something everyone can support: the 99ers would get the additional tiers of assistance we need. The economy would benefit, and Republicans would get the tax breaks for high incomes that they want. Win-win.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.


  1. Way too common sense and bipartisan to have a ghost of a chance.

  2. Well that's too bad, but the fact is that people's lives are at steak here, it's not a pissing contest. Something has to be done, period. No one walked off their job and then was awarded UI benefits, it doesn't work like that. No one asked for this, yet we must endure it. Whether they like it or not, the gov't is to blame completely for this mess and they will clean it up. They don't want us to start cleaning...

  3. vote out the senators that do not wish to support this bill into law we know who they are rally to have them dethroned and they can give up there big paycheck and go find another job maybe mcdonalds they need to be removed the republicans anyway...

  4. It, is time americans really started running this country if you dont do the peoples will rmove them from office put someone in who will if they dont bye get someone else...

  5. lets get it rolling,people are loosing everything and for jobs, look in the classifieds,for instance i am 53, ups is hiring for 171/2 hrs. a week maybe more for 2 months, pay rate 8.50 an hr for loading or unloading freight, first mont u have to pay union dues of 100 dollars then a percentage weekly but u are not in the union, so truth is the 3 1/2 hr. a day shift means u work about 4 hrs. of your 171/2 a week to pay union dues which means u would bring home roughly 85.00 a week, AND THIS IS LAND OF OPPURTUNITY, FOR WHOM


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