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The Great Rift
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By Rob Meltzer
Dec. 19, 2013 11:10 a.m.

I don’t suppose there is a bigger or more pompous ass in the Congress today than Michigan’s Sandy Levin. Last night, in a command performance on the Diane Rehm show on NPR, he managed to utter the phrase “1.3 million”–the number of people potentially affected by the end of extended federal UI, no fewer than 17 times, until even Diane Rehm seemed to be getting annoyed. In the world of the one trick pony, Levin is the ultimate broken record. What I find interesting about this is that Levin is not just out of step with the token Republican that Rehm had on the show, but with the Democratic Party in general. The concept of “compassion exhaustion” is another bipartisan phenomenon. After five years of federal welfare programs, even mainstream Democrats want to get back to social programs that have a broader social purpose–education, head start, environmental issues, infrastructure. In order to continue UI for 1.3 million, offsets will need to be found that will impact 300,000,000, and that is a hard sell for Democrats in an election year who need to show their constituents what they are getting in return for their tax dollars. Even to the Democrats, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Levin and his fellow welfare dinosaurs seem to forget this fundamental truth, and its not just the Republicans who are wishing that Levin would just shut up.

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