We had strong indications last year that the economy was beginning to pick up steam. Despite the GOP's insistence on governing this country from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis, a harmful government shutdown, and 40 gazillion unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare, the economy grew at an impressive 3.6% annual rate in the third quarter of 2013, and just yesterday, news came that jobless claims have fallen to new lows.
Work still remains to be done. Congress must act swiftly to restore unemployment insurance to those who lost it, and it must make investments to accelerate the growth of our economy. Regardless of insane Republican claims, unemployment insurance is not an incentive not to work (being a Republican member of Congress is), it is a critical bridge to hold people over while they look for work. We need to make investments in our economy now, and pay for it with higher taxes from those who take advantage of the tax loopholes available only to the ultrawealthy and multinationals.
And Americans need to become engaged in planning for our future. We must work to throw out a Congress that won't work with this president to create more jobs, grow the economy, and build broad based prosperity. Now is not the time for complacency. We cannot afford for 2014 to turn out like 2010. Politicians who fail to support the hard work of the American people and try to tear down the social safety net that holds us together during tough times - and that means not just Social Security and Medicare but also health care reform and extended unemployment benefits - must pay a price at the polls in November.