38 every minute

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Meteor Blades points out at Daily Kos that the benefits of 38 long-term unemployed Americans expire every minute because Republicans have prevented those benefits from being extended. MB notes that "[f]oes of extending unemployment benefits keep spouting two excuses:"

First, benefits create hobos, layabouts who enjoy spending every day watching cable, drinking six-packs of brew and luxuriating on an average $315 a week instead of looking for a job. For a three-person family, that comes in at $16,380 a year, a couple of grand below the poverty line. Cushy, eh? The second excuse, which we've been barraged with for weeks, is that America cannot afford another extension because of the federal deficit. Between now and November, the extension would cost $33 billion.

These excuses are mere cover for what Republicans who have blocked the extension really want - to make life hard as possible until November. This, they believe, despite their disgraceful record at holding out-of-work Americans hostage to their ideology, will somehow give them cachet to trash the Democrats. And for what? For failing to achieve economically what Republicans have done everything in their power to keep them from achieving. [...]

They have a clear-headed agenda: economic terrorism. [...] ...and their shameless goal is straightforward: worsen the economic situation for millions of Americans' in hopes of scoring more seats in Congress so they can cause even more damage to people's lives. [emphasis added]

MB bemoans both GOP obstructionism and Democratic fecklessness, wondering "How large does the Democratic majority have to become before we see somebody with political clout actually doing something instead of merely talking about our chronic economic problems?" Paul Krugman's "Punishing the Jobless" analyzes this chronic problem and observes that "there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work -- but they can't take jobs that aren't there:"

One main reason there aren't enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That's why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly -- while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.

Of course, the GOP is in favor of some ways to increase the deficit--such as extending the dumb-then-and-dumber-now Bush tax cuts. Thus are their true priorities revealed.

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly says "Let's be real clear about this:"

When Democrats propose extending unemployment benefits in the midst of an unemployment crisis, Republicans insist that's out of the question and refuse to allow the Senate to even vote on the idea -- the deficit matters more. When Democrats propose aid to states to prevent hundreds of thousands of additional layoffs, Republicans insist that's out of the question and refuse to allow the Senate to even vote on the idea -- the deficit matters more.

But when tax cuts -- the single biggest cause of the current massive deficit -- are on the line, Republicans effectively say, "Screw the deficit. We believe deficit reduction is more important than economic growth, except when we believe the opposite."

It would be about this time that the Tea Party crowd, if it had any integrity or intellectual consistency, would pipe up and reject the GOP tax-cut rhetoric, reiterating its commitment to deficit reduction. Anyone prepared to place a wager on this one?

Did you see what he did there? He put teabaggers in the same sentence with "integrity" and "intellectual consistency"...now that's funny! (If only their malign influence on our politics were as laughable...)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 12, 2010 1:48 PM.

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