Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Max Baucus & The Deficit

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Max Baucus is a Democratic Senator from Montana.  He’s been making noise in the past year about wanting to control our deficits, while telling the American people that health care reform measures would have to be paid for with money from other policies.  He had a quote lately about unemployment insurance.  Some folks have been out of work and unable to find a new job for a very long time.  Currently, unemployment insurance runs out after 99 weeks.  Congress did a poor job in the past year or so extending those benefit payments for more weeks than was “normal” in the 2000s.  It seems Sen. Baucus doesn’t think unemployment insurance payments should extend beyond the current 99 weeks they’re available:

“You can’t go on forever,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, of Montana, whose panel oversees the benefits program. “I think 99 weeks is sufficient,” he said.

Really, Sen. Baucus?  That’s an interesting position to take, given his record on the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Both were not subjected to the same budget constraints that Sen. Baucus wants to apply to unemployment insurance: there was no requirement that they be paid for so that the deficit wouldn’t increase.  The occupation of Iraq has lasted over 370 weeks.  Where is Sen. Baucus’ “99 weeks” limit?  The occupation of Afghanistan has lasted over 445 weeks.  Where is Sen. Baucus’ “99 weeks” limit?

No the, 99 weeks limit only applies to American workers who through no fault of their own find themselves out of work and unable to be hired for a new one.  They are not providing for their families, their communities or their country.

But the off-budget, deficit-busting occupations of two countries can last forever, as long as Sen. Baucus cares.

It’s good to know what his priorities are.

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