In the middle of this, on Wednesday, Republicans once again blocked an unemployment extension bill on that would have extended unemployment benefits. Their excuse? The bill costs $34 billion and adds to the deficit. They have suddenly discovered an interest in the deficit. Never mind that they put two wars on the national credit card. Never mind that they put a giveaway to the health insurance industry (Medicare Part D) on the backs of future taxpayers. Never mind that their hero Dick Cheney thinks that deficits don't matter.
Never mind that every dollar spent in unemployment checks generates $1.63 in economic activity. I mean, who would want that kind of return on investment? Feh! It's much better to put your social security money in the capable hands of Wall Street instead.
Never mind any of that. But just whose unemployment benefits are the Republicans cutting off? Just whose lifelines to the last shred of dignity are they denying? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was unchanged at 6.8 million. These individuals made up 45.5 percent of unemployed persons.That's right. Nearly half the people who are unemployed are unemployed long term. Keep in mind that one only counts as unemployed if one is actively looking for work. By impeding economic recovery and blocking unemployment benefits at every turn, the Republican Party has made it clear that it wants to win elections on the backs of hard working Americans who are down on their luck thanks to the dismal economy caused by the rampant deregulation of multinational corporations pushed by their right wing buddies in government.
1.2 million Americans have already lost their lifeline since the benefits started expiring in May. As the Speaker's blog shows us with data from the BLS, thanks to Republican obstructionism, 1.7 million Americans will lose their lifelines to dignity by tomorrow, July 3. By the end of this month, nearly 3.5 million people will have lost their unemployment lifeline if Republicans continue to succeed in their strategy of kicking Americans when they are down.
I suppose that we shouldn't expect anything different from a party whose stars compare the poor to stray animals, say that unemployment insurance spoils people who can't find a job, and want to drug-test the unemployed (I'm actually fine with this as long as we can administer random drug tests on members of Congress - because I'd like some of whatever it is that the Republican members of Congress are smoking).
But let's get real. What the Republicans are doing is anti-American. It hurts real people. As the Speaker's blog noted after the passage of the latest unemployment extension in the House, this kind of obstruction is unprecedented in a time of national economic crisis.
The current lapse in extended benefits is unprecedented: Since 1959, the government has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the national unemployment rate is still above 7.2%.I will say it again: The Republicans are kicking Americans while they are down. Power is their ultimate goal, and it appears to me that they quite enjoy running over and destroying the lives of millions of people on the way there. As the President said, the Republicans caused our economic vehicle to go into the ditch, now they are trying to keep it in the ditch by clawing against any attempt to pull it out, and furthermore, they want the keys back. NO!