Thursday, June 17, 2010

As One of the "Small People," I Can Use a Job

Is it a pre-requisite for senior executives at BP to be so gaffe prone? First we have Tony Hayward and his foot chewing now followed by the linguistic stylings of Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg:

I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care,” he said. “But that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.

The apologists have been out in force, attempting to find ways to explain this as anything other than arrogance and a true reflection of Svanberg's (and BP's) feelings for those who are not them. The most common excuse I've seen is that it's purely due to language difficulties, since English is not Svanberg's native tongue.

I will grant that English is a difficult language to learn and master and I applaud all those people around the world who have elected to learn the language, exceptions included. They've mastered something I've spent my life trying to master while I've not been able to master my few attempts at learning another language (Spanish was the one I attempted and though my instructors were not the greatest, it's still my own damn fault for not learning.) I have a reasonable knowledge of grammar and a fairly good vocabulary and for the life of me, I can not really come up with a phrasing or way that Svanberg could have said this without insulting others. Rather like Leona Helmsley's "Only the little people pay taxes" quip.

But I'm not going to pick on BP alone today. After all, we now have additions to the Larry Kudlow School of Economics that postulates that folks collecting unemployment are only looking for a paid vacation with Diane Feinstein and others joining the chorus now. From HuffPo:
Lurking beneath deficit concerns, for both Republicans and even some Democrats, is the suspicion that extended unemployment benefits discourage job-seeking. Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) said last Thursday, for instance, that extended unemployment benefits are "too much of an allure" for people to look for work. Even Senate Democrats who voted in favor of the bill, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), are starting to look toward winding down the programs.

"We have 99 weeks of unemployment insurance," Feinstein said. "The question comes, how long do you continue before people just don't want to go back to work at all?"

Or Orrin Hatch calling for those collecting unemployment to be subject to drug testing. Tell ya what Orrin. I'll go along with drug testing for those collecting unemployment if you and the rest of the Senate and House will also submit to drug and alcohol testing as long as the Unemployment rate is over 5% and the Underemployment rate is more than 10%. If anyone in the Senate or House tests above a .01 for alcohol or has any type of prescription drugs in their system, then they are docked at least a week's 'wages' each time it happens. Deal? Nah, I didn't think so.

So here we are. Today's Job's Report says:
New claims for jobless aid rose last week while consumer prices notched their largest decline in nearly 1-1/2 years in May, suggesting interest rates will remain ultra low to nurse the fragile economic recovery.

Fears that growth could be slowing were heightened on Thursday by a report showing factory activity in the country's Mid-Atlantic region braked to its slowest pace in 10 months in June. The employment gauge fell to its lowest level since November.

So to answer those in the Kudlow School of Economic Theory, no, people who are collecting unemployment are NOT using it as a chance for a vacation. If given a choice between $300 a week in unemployment or a job paying $1,000 a week with benefits, we'll take the job thank you. We want to work. We do not want hand-outs. So go ahead and slash the Jobs bill in the interest of a deficit you created with tax cuts for the rich. We do pay attention even if the talking heads and all your Village idiots assume otherwise.

And because I can:

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