Life Is Like Tarzan, Swinging From A Thin Vine


Regarding this post, commenter donovong writes:

I'm rather late to the party, but I just want to correct one error on TNC's part - employees do NOT pay anything for unemployment insurance. The cost is borne entirely by the employer. It is not deducted by the employer from pay, and is actually not very expensive, either. It is actually a minor cost, when compared to such things as FICA and health insurance.

I think donovong for the correction.  That said, this, as articulated by JonF, is more what I was thinking:

Any money an employer pays for labor costs (including health premiums, the employers' share of FICA, unemployment insurance and workman's comp premiums) is ultimately coming out of employee compensation even if it is not itemized as such on the pay stubs.

Above all, I wanted to point out the stupidity of punishing workers whose jobs have vanished. I don't want to take this too far, because I never bought the welfare-queen bit. But there were a lot of people, during the mid-90s, talking this "ethic of work" business. Part of working, is putting money aside so that, should something go wrong, you're covered. Unemployment Insurance is an effort to do just that, collectively. The feds, recognizing that we're living in extremely rough times, have extended the benefit. Denying that benefit to people who would work, who have worked in the recent past, just seems trivial and wantonly cruel.

We talked earlier about black folks stepping over dollars to snatch up nickels. This is the dollar here--in both literal and figurative terms. I have no doubt that African-Americans, a disproportionately Southern community, will likely make up a disproportionate share of those affected by the grandstanding of Bobby Jindal and Mark Sanford. If you're really worried about the fate of black people in this country, and not narrowly focused on cleaning white people, then this should bug you more than any cartoon put together by some hack artist. Cartoons may hurt your feelings, but Jindal and Sanford are going to hurt your kids. This is not metaphorical or symbolic. This is actual money

And the best part is that, like all our greatest fights, we are not alone. Tons of workers, of all colors, will be hurt by this. If you're wondering what "black issues" look like for liberals in the 21st century, in the Obama era, than this is it. There are several fights out there which cut across racial lines, but still disproportionately affect blacks. We're going to have to be smarter. Sanctimoniously shaming white people is a weapon of the stone age. Our foes have upgraded. We need to follow suit. I think Ghostface said it best, "They used guns, while we angrily shot arrows\You better keep your eye on the sparrow."

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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