Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finally... The President Speaks Out About the Failure to Extend Unemployment Insurance

Yesterday President Obama finally spoke out about how all but two Republicans have been blocking the attempt to extend unemployment insurance in the U.S. Senate. I wrote about this two months ago, but... hey, better late than never. It takes less courage and less in the way of leadership skills when you probably finally have the votes to end the filibuster. Mr. President, is that the reason for the delay?

I'm still glad President Obama spoke out and did so forcefully. Perhaps even more important was that the President finally called the Republicans out on their rank hypocrisy.

The reason this has been held up, according to Congressman John Boehner, not because Republicans oppose extending unemployment, but rather because the measure wasn't paid for and would add to the deficit. Funny, Republicans are all for extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, which will add $685 billion to the deficit, but are against spending $33 billion to help middle and working class Americans who can't find jobs. If you take away the Bush tax cuts and the cost of the two wars President Bush got us into we'd have still been running a surplus until 2008. We would have had seven more years with no deficits at all.

Oh, and while the Republicans have been playing politics with people's rent and mortgage payments and other essentials over 2.5 million people have lost their unemployment benefits. Nearly one third of American families now include someone who is unemployed, and a frighteningly large number have been unemployed for a long time.

Let's also be very clear about something: most people who are unemployed long term right now really do want to work. In most cases it's through no fault of their own. Here are three articles which explain why:
We have millions of people who now face a truly daunting task when it comes to finding work. Surely in the richest country in the world we can help these people get by until the do land on their feet. We also, in time of high debt and deficits, do not need to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy. It seems like affluent Americans did just fine in the 1990s under Clinton era tax rates.

I hope people are taking note of which party is looking out for working people who have been hit hard by the recession and which is looking out for the wealthy and will vote accordingly in November.

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