Friday, July 16, 2010

Chris Matthews is an Idiot

The drumbeat goes on about how unemployment compensation causes people not to look for jobs. I don’t really know the truth of that, but I can tell you that my own experience would certainly debunk it. I was laid off once many decades ago and drew unemployment for a few weeks before I found a new job, and it was the worst weeks of my life. I found it humiliating and was in a desperate hurry to find a job.

Some guy was on Hardball saying that unemployment does permit people to be a little more choosy about the kind of job they seek, and that they might be turning down available jobs that they feel are not worthy of them until the unemployment benefits run out, and his argument made a certain amount of sense to me.

Chris Matthews was outraged by it however. (Yes, I’m still watching his show so that you don’t have to.) Citing his son who is an actor and who works as a busboy when he is not actively in an acting role,

They announced a job like at a restaurant for busboys, which is a fairly an entry level job. Not waiter which could be pretty professional obviously, a busboy. The lines go around the corner. They‘re like trying to get an acting job. How you can say that there aren‘t people looking for work at pretty much at the entry level job? Not the perfect job, the highly or semi-skilled job, but basic work. And these jobs have lines around the corner. Every time a hotel opens, the lines are around the corner for two or three blocks. Why do you say there aren‘t unemployed people that really want to work out there, who don‘t really want to work?

His rant went on at great length and, as is usual with him when he’s ranting, it became more and more loaded with adjectives and adverbs to the point that it became essentially unintelligible. I was at times a little confused as to whether the line was for a busboy job or an acting job. At some point he drew a deep breath, as is his wont, and told his guest, “But… Go ahead.”

This is a typical Chris Matthews argument; the evidence in front of you means that there is no evidence which is not in front of you. In this case, the fact that thousands are applying for jobs as busboy is proof there are no other people who are not applying for jobs as busboy. You got that?

Me, I suspect we should extend unemployment benefits, but not based on Chris’s arguments about who is in lines for jobs as busboy.

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