Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Elementary Lesson In Unemployment Economics

We apologize if we're a bit brusque today, on the first day of Hanukkah, but we're not in the mood to beat around the bush like Congress is doing right now in Washington.

As we noted yesterday and again today in our links, Congress has once again allowed unemployment benefits to lapse for millions of Americans as we head into the holiday season. This happened in large part because Republican legislators have decided to hold the government hostage in order to get an extension of tax breaks for the richest Americans.

For those Americans who honestly do care about fiscal responsibility, this action only makes Republican members of Congress appear like rich arrogant schoolyard bullies.

It's fiscal hypocrisy in the extreme, the kind that makes ol' Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch look like a couple of amateurs.

As we've pointed out before, since unemployment insurance was created, Congress has NEVER refused to extend benefits if unemployment was over 7.2%. Yet Republicans in Congress have now prevented the renewal of those benefits not just once, but MULTIPLE times this year. This in a country where Americans still are seeking work at a rate of one job for every five people who are unemployed.

Still, the alleged fiscally conservative Republican leadership would rather spend nearly $700 Billion over the next ten years - money our country doesn't have - to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans (who aren't likely to spend that money anyway), instead of spending around $15 Billion to help out millions of unemployed Americans on a short-term basis. The unemployed will spend that money immediately in order to keep food in their kids' bellies and roofs over their heads - money that will immediately go back into the economy and drive up demand for goods and services, which would create more jobs, adding more money to our tax coffers, reducing our debt.

Simple, basic, elementary school math tells us that when there is only one of something that five people want, four people are going to be left out. No matter how well-educated, or experienced, or well-connected they are, no matter how many resumes they've sent out, or many jobs they've applied for - four of your fellow American citizens, heading into this holiday season, will be without a job, though they desperately want to rejoin the work force.

That same elementary math tells us that we shouldn't be spending $700 Billion we don't have as a handout to people who don't actually need it, and who won't be creating any jobs with that money, anyway. After all, if tax cuts for the wealthy were truthfully such a good job creation method, then after nearly a decade of Bush tax cuts we shouldn't be at nearly ten percent unemployment.

Finally, elementary kindness tells us that, as we sail through Hanukkah, on our way to Christmas and all the other holidays, that this is the time of year when everyone should be thinking about those less fortunate than themselves.

Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and the rest of the GOP still seem to have hearts three sizes too small.

In the spirit of the holidays, we'll be nice and refrain from commenting on what size we think these actions make their brains appear to be.

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