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GOP Congressional Messaging: Tax Breaks For The Rich And Waterboarding For The Unemployed!
GOP Holds The Line, Ready To Vote Themselves A Tax Break!
John Boehner (pronounced Bay-ner, not Bo-ner), the next Speaker of the House, has drawn a line in the sand. There will be no compromise! The American people have spoken to him in the mid-term elections, much like God speaks to him while he is on the golf course or in the tanning salon. Either tax breaks for all, or tax breaks for none. Continued tax cuts for the wealthy will cost the country 700 Billion Dollars. 700 Billion dollars that is NOT paid for. That will be added to the ever growing deficit, but the returns will be enormous! The rich will continue to supply ALL of those jobs that came over the last ten years. Where are they? The Republican Party as a whole and historically, hates taxes and loves small government. They want the best defense and military (no gays allowed!) that the country(China) can buy, the biggest and best weapons programs, Homeland defense on steroids, and tax protections for the wealthy and free market minus regulations for big business. And there will be no compromises!
Boehner's net worth has been estimated at anywhere between $2 million and $8 million dollars. His vote on the tax issue before Congress will most likely affect him and his investments directly. In fact, according to CNBC, November 17, 2010: "The median wealth of a representative was $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008, while that of a senator was almost $2.38 million, versus $2.27 million the previous year."
Boehner and the rest of Congress will be personally affected if the tax cuts for the wealthy are allowed to expire. Wonder why there will be no compromise? While the GOP is poised to add $700 Billion Dollars to the ever-growing deficit to protect their own income, they will draw the line at extending unemployment benefits during a time of high unemployment. The Republicans as a whole, believe that the extension of benefits to the unemployed is too costly. Some have even gone so far as to state that people who collect unemployment become deincentivized; the unemployed simply want to stay at home while getting rich on the average weekly benefit of $293.00. When voting to deny the most recent emergency extension of unemployment, the GOP uses the ever growing deficit as an excuse for a no vote. Logically, then, they should hold tax cuts to the same criteria, but don't.
It has been estimated that extending benefits for the unemployed through 2011 will cost $65 Billion Dollars. The bill to extend unemployment benefits for those whose unemployment ends on November 30, 2010 was $12.5 Billion Dollars. The extension has not passed, because a two-thirds margin is required for its approval. If benefits are denied, it will be the first time in almost 75 years that the Federal government has denied extended unemployment benefits in a time when unemployment rates are high. Employers talk about having a glut of applications; more than ever before. They have applications coming from people holding advanced degrees even when the offered position is paying as little as $10.00 per hour.
700 Billion for the wealthy or 65 Billion for the soon to be poor? Of course, the unemployed have no political power, no voice in the discussion. The wealthy will win out, if Boehner has his way. There is no room in the budget for the unemployed. They do not spend their benefits on political contributions. They spend it on food. They have no lobbyists.
The ever-important deficit is of utmost significance to Congressional Republicans when dealing with social programs, while less significant when dealing with continuing tax cuts. Does it make more sense to add almost one trillion dollars to the budget for the already wealthy? If the growing deficit is the real issue, then the GOP should at least be consistent and be against tax cuts for the wealthy in addition to extension of unemployment benefits.
Of interest also, is the GOP framing of the conversation in regards to the tax cuts that are on the table. The Republican party always speaks in terms of the current Administration's desire to raise taxes. Everything is semantics. If the tax cuts are allowed to expire, it will not be raising taxes. The tax cuts were designed to be temporary and were designed to expire. The cuts will expire on December 31, 2010. If the cuts are allowed to expire, taxes have not been raised, they have just returned to the level where they were ten years ago.
Can You Get Rich On Unemployment Benefits?
The stories are many. People everywhere will tell others that they saw the person in front of them at the grocery store using food stamps to buy steak, even lobster! The stories go on and on and on. There is some fraud in the food stamp program, but that is a small amount of the total. How fortunate to be a family that is currently living on food stamps! They are all getting rich! Conservatives would have us believe that the average weekly unemployment check in the amount of $293.00 is buying new cars, fancy homes and even steak and lobster for dinner! That must be why being laid off is such a pleasant and welcome experience for people! To hear some conservatives tell it, when people lose their jobs, the first thing they do is shout for joy! "Wow! Now I am going to get rich! Couldn't do it when I was earning three times the amount of my unemployment check, but this is like winning the lottery! It is steak and lobster time now!" Just how rich can you get on $1200.00 a month? The thought of it is simply absurd!
In the real world, the 8 million unemployed (those looking for jobs), pour their unemployment checks right back into the economy because they use it immediately to pay rent, food, utilities or whatever else they can squeeze out of that small amount of money. Unemployment benefits do not pay the bills for people used to living on three times that amount. That amount of money cannot go very far in bringing wealth to the unemployed. People are fortunate if they have savings when they lose their jobs. The unemployed usually go through their savings and dip into their 401K's just to feed their families. When anyone scoffs at the idea of unemployment benefits, he or she should try to live on that amount of money before casting aspersions or making unsubstantiated remarks about the unemployed getting rich. And that steak and lobster? Right!
To those who incessantly talk about how wonderful it must be to sit all day and collect money for doing nothing, offer to trade places. Find out just how wonderful it is! I am sure that everyone has a friend or family member that has lost their job in the past two years. Before talking about the evils of unemployment benefits, think about that friend or family member. They are not very important to your life if you can insult them with narrow-minded, thoughtless and unsympathetic statements. The people on the conservative side of the aisle feel as if the unemployed are stealing the clothes off their backs and food from their children. If you have not paid into the system for unemployment benefits, you cannot collect the benefits. It is not a welfare program. It is an insurance program and every worker in this country pays into the insurance fund. As with any insurance program, when there is a covered loss, the policy pays the benefits.
Members of Congress cannot possibly identify with the unemployed. They are financially secure, knowing that they will have a large paycheck, medical insurance and other benefits, including a pension, and unless their constituents notice that they are doing nothing while in Congress or stop believing the lies they tell (both parties guilty), will re-elect them. Congressmen protect themselves, each other and the corporations that give them money. Money for nothing? Think again. The unemployed have no advocates with the exception of a few members of Congress that have empathy and can actually do math. In the current political climate, even if a GOP member of Congress were in favor of extending benefits, he or she would be shamed by other party members, or at the very least told to shape up and tow the party line.
Playing Political Games With The Lives Of Real People!
Dirty political games are a part of Congressional history. Not a pretty part, but a part. Trading this for that, backing this legislation in exchange for backing another's pet project, etc. are among the daily activities on the schedule of every Congressional representative. Congress plays with the big national chessboard, but the game pieces are the American people.
The decisions of Congress really do affect individual lives! Games are always played with the American citizen all too often becoming the victim. Waterboarding has been used on suspected terrorists. The unemployed of this country are now being waterboarded by their own Congress.