Posts Tagged 'jobless benefits'

It’s easy to say “no”

Thank goodness.  Congress is on the verge of passing a financial reform bill.  Like real people, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd stayed up late to push the damn thing over the finish line…even though nary a Republican felt inclined to be associated with it.

No more shudders when I go into my local bank, queue up to the tellers and wonder “how is this big, bad institution going to screw me today.”  No more worries about how much money my bank is putting into those nasty hedge funds.  No more giving me a big mortgage without asking me if I actually have a source of income to repay the loan.  And the real biggy…I can get a discount for paying cash instead of shoving plastic at the waitress.  Whew.  It boggles the mind.

And a big thumbs-up to the auto dealer lobbyists.  They managed to exempt their angelic clients from scrutiny by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Doubtless because no senator has been victimized by bait and switch, inflated loan fees and expensive, unnecessary add-ons like rust protection in California.

No surprise that the Party-of-No decided to continue its unblemished record of contributing nothing, doing nothing and hoping for nothing.  It’s at times like this that I think back to the good old days when we were the minority and could relish lack of achievement, point fingers, and look forward to reading the NY Times every hour on the hour…hoping for more bad news.  News that would turn us back into the majority.  As someone once said, be careful what you wish for.

But if we were the minority, I wonder if we would have deep-sixed the extension of jobless benefits like the current minority-in-residence did.  Forgetting about the late-lamented trillion-dollar financial institution bail-out, and using the shop-worn argument that deficit reduction trumps the extension of the princely sum of $309 a week in jobless benefits, the Party-of-No deftly avoided the real impetus for their intransigence…the protection of tax breaks for those who earn considerably more than $309 a week.

At a time when nearly every economist in the country agrees on the importance of consumer spending in digging us out of the recession, the Party-of-No is willing to keep jobless benefits out of the hands of those who spend it on food and shelter…as a wedge to maximize the wealth of those who need it least.

I hope that, come November, the 1.2 million folks who lost their benefits will remember who to thank.  In particular, they might consider the following statement by that great deficit hawk, Senator Orrin Hatch.  Proposing an amendment that would require drug testing of all who apply for jobless benefits or welfare, he said…This amendment is a way to help people get off of drugs to become productive and healthy members of society, while ensuring that valuable taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted…Too many Americans are locked into a life of a dangerous dependency not only on drugs, but the federal assistance that serves to enable their addiction.

Then again, maybe it would be better if we stay in charge.  It could be a whole lot worse.



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