Friday, January 17, 2014

Senators Cut Support for the Jobless

No Support from the GOP for the Jobless

      As news media and political experts around the country sit and scrutinize the governor in New jersey with scrupulousness, attention on the state is at a peak since Sandy. Republicans, democrats, and voters are all fixated on the robust executive, and what the "bridge-gate" could mean for the next presidential election. Now I'm sure the story is very interesting and someone should get to the bottom of it. But I don't think that 5-8 hours worth of Chris Kristie on FOX, MSNBC, and CNN etc.. is quite necessary. Like there is nothing else going on this week....

      Lets take a look. Hmmm... lets see. On January 14th, three days ago a bill titled S.1845 was filibustered. 45 of your Republican Senators decided that an extension on unemployment benefits was not necessary. This Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act began in 2008 when the financial crisis raised unemployment. Congress agreed that during times of financial despondency, when jobs are not there, and the jobs that are available can barely feed a family and keep a roof above heads, the government decided that an extension on benefits was warranted.1

     This month we have heard this enchanting mantra from the republican members of congress, "Republicans will get serious on poverty." Well...this makes sense. This is about as serious as it gets. These extended benefits needed to be cut as a matter of principle. After voting against ending the medley of filibusters, (that eventually were successful), the bill is provisionally dead. Apparently this was a matter of principle. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin claim after voting that, "Republicans actually have principles." He continued, "I ran because...we are bankrupting our children's future." Overall the same tune is heard from every Senator who opposed the bill. "To continue to give money to these Americans is just going to send us further into debt", "Extending these benefits will not help these people get jobs", "The bill is fiscally irresponsible."2

The Cost

      The checks for 1.3 million Americans wont be cut. 1.3 Million mothers, sons, fathers and daughters will be at a loss. 1.3 million neighbors and ex-coworkers will be hurt by this cut. With the death of this bill comes a loss of food on the table, and no gas money to go look for a job. Many of the jobless are teetering on the edge of struggling and impoverished.  But with the budget in mind the money will be better spent providing skilled training to these unemployed workers. Because these laid off teachers, out of work electricians, construction workers and laborers from the manufacturing industry, many of whom are over the age of 40 have many choices in this country. They can try switching careers, going back to school and taking a lower paying job, to pay their mortgages. 

      According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, with the termination of these benefits the number of unemployed will be 5 million by the end of the year if congress doesn't act.3 You may see the lowering unemployment numbers as a positive indicator. But this statistic is skewed because many have given up the search.

It's Economics

      A balanced budget is of great importance. It comes down to economics for these senators. Economics means continuing bush's tax cuts for those in higher tax bracket. The 678 Billion dollars that the government will cut from taxes is all economics.

      Its interesting...good policy decisions seem to be centered around solid economics. Yet Mark Zandi, former adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said, "No form of the fiscal stimulus has proved more effective during the past two years than emergency UI benefits." Other economic analysts have said the same thing. It seems that unemployment checks are spent. They stimulate the economy enhancing consumerism.4

      What are the real reasons behind why most Republican  senators have decided to oppose the bill? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the bill has been proposed by mostly democrats. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the president supports the bill?

      Listen to the news and you might hear a tea party member or two call these unemployed people lazy. I have a request for those whom want to perpetuate this notion. Go and speak to someone who has been without a job. Ask them what its like, ask them about this "vacation". Just because someone doesn't know what its like to get a million dollar bonus, worked hard and loss their job as result of an economic crisis or couldn't afford student loans doesn't mean they are lazy. These are hard working Americans. When will the welfare of a people outweigh political maneuvering. It appears they are not deserve a little more time to find employment. When will values actually mean more than a party. English writer and journalist Harriet Martineau put it best, "If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power."5

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