The cost of doing anything

Starting this week, my daily commute costs 20 cents extra.  The “temporary” DC Metro fare hike lasts only until June 27 – just in time for the start of Metro’s next fiscal year, when they will likely institute a more permanent and steeper fare hike to cover their operating deficit.

Today, the Post Office – like Metro, facing an institutionalized budget shortfall – is recommending reductions in service and may look to increase postage rates.

From the consumer standpoint, Metro riders and people who still use the mail are being asked to pay more for less service.   And while these organizations are probably rife with waste and fraud, the simple fact is that the 44 cents earned from the sale of a stamp or the $1.90 in revenue from a basic, one-way fare doesn’t do as far as it used to.  Inflation affects everyone.

Which brings us to Jim Bunning’s assault on common decency, humanity, America, and of course extending unemployment benefits with money the federal government, quite simply, does not have.

Running up deficits and debt in order to fund stimulus projects or propping up financial institutions – or even to “help” those who are out of work – is an attractive short-term strategy, but a long-term repercussion of financial instability is inflation.

In other words, this program to help the unemployed actually raises prices – like the cost of Metro fare to get to a job interview, or the price of a postage stamp to send a thank you note after a job interview, or the price of food for breakfast to make sure you’re sharp at your job interview.  It’s like feeding the hungry with food that induces vomiting.

So, is Jim Bunning really being all that unreasonable for drawing a line in the sand and asking for spending restraint?  Or is doing more than any other Senator to help the unemployed?

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