Capitol Report – Throwing unemployed Americans under the bus
By State Representative, Leon D. Young
There was big news emanating from the nation’s capital last week.
House Speaker John Boehner finally showed some leadership (and political testicles) in brokering a compromise agreement that flies in the face of the much more conservative Tea Party members in Congress.
The House approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015.
A shutdown deadline had loomed for January 15th.
Interestingly enough, the compromise passed despite opposition from House Republicans in the Tea Party.
More than 60 Republican obstructionists voted against the bill.
The deal has been described as having “something for everyone to dislike,” giving neither Republicans nor Democrats a substantial party victory.
Moreover, it’s expected to win endorsement in the Senate and be signed into law by President Obama, perhaps as early as this week.
Here are some key criticisms of the bill:
• Democrats say the compromise doesn’t restore money to domestic programs and will not extend long-term unemployment insurance that is scheduled to end after December 28.
• Republicans counter by saying that the deal eases the threat of sequester, removing a key bargaining chip.
It also doesn’t include enough spending cuts or reform social programs.
But, in my opinion, House Republicans brokered a much better deal for their political concerns.
Consequently, 1.3 million unemployed Americans will not have their long-term unemployment benefits extended beyond the end of this year.
Besides the callous nature of this rash decision during the Christmas holidays, I’m extremely miffed by some of the assertions that Republicans have been making regarding the need to extend this particular benefit.
The very notion that unemployed individuals would rather receive a government check (a handout) than find a job is not only ridiculous – it’s downright insulting. Moreover, their paternalistic attitude that suggests that Republicans would be doing these unemployed workers a “disservice” by extending this paltry lifeline is equally vexing to my sensibilities.
But, the thing that I find to be most disconcerting is the blatant mendacity on the part of the GOP.
Republicans are fully aware that global competition has spurred the exodus of thousands of American manufacturing jobs to offshore destinations, while countless American IT service jobs are outsourced to developing nations, such as India.
So, it’s a perfect storm working against many unemployed Americans who have seen their manufacturing jobs relocated elsewhere, and not possessing the necessary skill sets for jobs in the 21st century.
It’s an outrage that 1.3 million people who were once taxpayers and contributing members of this economy shouldn’t be further humiliated by having their meager incomes interrupted because they can’t find a job.