...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, December 01, 2003
      ( 1:25 PM )
Happy New Year

Just in time for the holidays and a happy new year, House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, and the republican majority in Congress have decided that while the rich and richer should get extended tax cuts, extending unemployment for those whose benefits will soon be exhausted is unecessary. If you've been out of work for a while, things aren't going to get better any time soon:

At the last minute, Congressional leaders added
legislation to their pre-adjournment agenda that
would extend more than a dozen tax breaks
scheduled to expire at the end of the year. But
despite efforts to squeeze the tax-cut “extenders”
package into the busy Congressional schedule
before adjournment, Congressional leaders have
shown no willingness to consider extending the
temporary federal program to help the long-term
unemployed, which, starting January 1, will not
provide any benefits to those who exhaust their
regular, state-funded benefits.

Tom DeLay just doesn't think the poor need extended benefits. And whatever Tom DeLay thinks, that is what the government does.

When it comes to the unemployment benefits,
however, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
told BNA Daily Labor Report on November 19
that there is “no reason” for extending those
benefits. The House approach implies that
corporations need continued support amidst
a still-weak economy, but that laid-off
workers do not.

There are more unemployed workers now than ever before. And if the benefits aren't extended, between 80,000 and 90,000 workers per week will be thrown off the rolls starting in January 2004.

The dimwits in the white house and on Capital Hill are under the impression that our economy is helped in the long run by giving more money to rich folks than by extending unemployment (or even maybe finding jobs) for unemployed workers. This is proven to be a false assumption.

Second, it is also of note that unemployment
benefits provide more stimulus to the economy
than corporate tax cuts
. An Economy.com study
of the effects of various ways to stimulate a
weak economy found that for each dollar of cost
to the federal Treasury, federal unemployment
insurance benefits were the single most effective
policy mechanism examined. Unemployment
insurance puts money in the hands of people
who need it and generally will spend it quickly.
Although the Economy.com study did not examine
the specific corporate tax break contained in the
current House extenders bill, the study found
that similar corporate tax cuts were among the
least effective methods of stimulating the economy.

But that doesn't matter. What matters is short term giveaways and favors for corporate donors and sponsors. The republicans aren't worried about losing the House or the Senate in 2004 because the Dems haven't bothered to compete - and sadly, it doesn't look like they will any time soon. As for the white house, it's clear that Bush doesn't care about working people in America - he and Rove feel that Bush can distract attention by appearing to be a "strong leader" in fighting "terra" - and that Americans will roll over and ignore the fact that the economic "stimulus" Bush enacted only beats us down more and does nothing to help this country.

Tom DeLay and George Bush and the rest of them are banking on ignorance and people not paying attention. But 80,000 workers a week losing benefits might cause some attention to be paid. Let's just hope that the attention will be turned into action and that the white house will be turned over to someone who actually cares about the working people of this country and getting jobs back instead of rewarding rich folks for being rich.

(thanks to Kos for the link)

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