What is it with Republican Politicians and "Annie Hall -- Marshal McLuhan" moments?
A couple of years ago, Jeff Sessions stepped into it at Justice Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. Then in 2012, Jared Diamond of Guns, Germs and Steel fame weighed in after Romney flubbed a reference to his book: "That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it," said Diamond.
Today it was time for the richly deserving Rand Paul to experience this (via Steve Benen).
Rand has been making a favorite Dickensian Republican argument -- that extending federal unemployment benefits to for the long-term employed would actually hurt them. He cited economist Rand Ghayad to bolster his claim.
Ghayad, like McLuhan, stepped out from offstage into the scene:
So why does [the senator] want to end unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for 6 months or longer? Well, Paul cites my work on long-term unemployment as a justification – which surprised me, because it implies *the opposite* of what he says it does.And this guy is a leading Republican Presidential contender. We've gone from Annie Hall to Idiocracy in just 36 years.
Now, we clearly have a long-term unemployment problem. The question is why. Paul says it’s all about incentives. He thinks extending unemployment benefits does a “disservice” to the unemployed by encouraging them to stay unemployed for too long. And as a “big-hearted” member of a party that cares about the jobless, he wants to protect them from making such mistakes – by cutting their benefits, of course.
But Paul misreads my work to try to back up his argument.