Yesterday, the House of Representatives failed to pass an extension of unemployment benefits. What this means to those who have struggled to find a job during this economic downturn is that they will no longer receive a benefit of approximately $300 per week. This is wrong for so many reasons, so let's look at a few.
I have heard some members of Congress call the benefit a disincentive to work. Really? A payment that amounts to $7.50 per hour is something that will make you not want to work? Now that we have found that magic number, I ask Congress to vote on their new salary - $300 per week. If it's so good, why not try it? While your at it, try paying your health insurance premium out of the same windfall of cash.
While the Republican side of the isle led the charge to stop the extension of benefits, they have continuously fought for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. After all, these are the same people who saw their income grow steadily for the last decade so they are obviously in desperate need for a tax cut!
It would be easy to point at the GOP and say that they are the culprit in this matter, but in good conscience I cannot. I can't understand why the Democrats failed to pass legislation that would have indexed the extensions to the unemployment rate. When the rate dropped to a certain level, the extensions would begin to expire in 60 days. Instead, they procrastinated, then decided to recess and go home, leaving millions of families to worry about their fate over the Thanksgiving weekend. Happy Holiday!
Clearly, we are seeing exactly what the Republican Party promised during this last election cycle - and their House majority isn't even in affect. Their behavior expresses a true disregard for the lives of the unemployed (their constituents) and I wonder what their solution will be when their inaction leads to higher crime and increased homelessness. Welcome to the 112 Congress and the House of Reprehensibles.