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A Few Stimulating Ideas

eeoc-seal.jpgStart with an anti-government, anti-regulation attitude in the Bush White House, then add eight years of shrinking the number of federal regulators, and here’s what you get (courtesy of Steve Vogel at the Washington Post):

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged with enforcing the nation’s job discrimination laws, is facing its largest caseload in at least a quarter-century with sharply diminished staffing and resources, according to commission and union officials. . . .

More than 95,400 charges of job bias in the private sector were filed in fiscal year 2008, up 15.2 percent from the previous year and up 26 percent from 2006. But the size of the EEOC staff, which is responsible for investigating the complaints, has steadily decreased in size and now numbers 2,192, down from approximately 2,850 in 2000.

File that under "No one could have anticipated . . ."

If the Congress is anxious to spend some stimulus money in ways that directly create jobs and have an immediate impact, increasing the funding to get rid of this backlog at the EEOC and similar government backlogs at the SEC, FDA, and the USDA’s food safety inspection service would be a big step in the right direction. Then there’s the immigration/naturalization paperwork processing, military transitioning from DOD to VA health benefits, . . . 

Yes, the GOP will scream about making government bigger, so make the positions temporary, until the caseload matches the targets (the 180 days in the story above). But all this is right up Obama’s alley. Remember this from his inaugural address?

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — ­ whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. . . . Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account ­ to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day ­ because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Spend the money wisely and reform bad habits so that government can work. What a novel idea.

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.