Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Thank You, Senator Bunning

Thank You, Senator Bunning; Kathryn Jean Lopez; National Review Online

Senator Bunning was making headlines for filibustering a bill to extend unemployment benefits. For days, I read and listened as he was accused of single-handedly holding the Senate — and down-on-their-luck, out-of-work Americans — hostage. He was doing this, if some of the media coverage was to be believed, because he didn’t care about anyone or anything except whatever point he was selfishly trying to make. The Washington Post described him as “angry and alone, a one-man blockade against unemployment benefits, Medicare payments to doctors, satellite TV to rural Americans and paychecks to highway workers.”

But Bunning’s point was worth making. These unemployment payments are extra-budgetary. The federal government doesn’t have the money for them: It has to borrow to make these payments. Media folk and others might feel quite comfortable condemning Bunning — the lazy story is “Mean Republican seeks to hurt the unemployed” — but how about listening instead?

His point, in his own words, was: “If we cannot pay for a bill that all 100 senators support, how can we tell the American people with a straight face that we will ever pay for anything? That is what senators say they want, and that is what the American people want.”

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