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My Turn: Extended unemployment benefits end Saturday . . . what we can do?

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Extended unemployment benefits end Saturday, December 28, which means that nearly a million and a half Americans will immediately lose what little regular income they have been receiving.
Moreover, by the end of 2014, nearly five million men and women will have lost the incomes they would have relied on to pay for housing, utilities, food, clothing, medical care, and transportation for themselves and their families.
According to the Council of Economic Advisers, the end of extended unemployment benefits will take billions of dollars in activity out of the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of Americans their jobs.
The Department of Labor under the George W. Bush administration reported that each $1.00 paid in unemployment benefits returns $2.00 to America in new economic activity.
Let’s take a moment to recap: the end to extended unemployment benefits will put millions of families at economic risk, will reduce economic growth, and will cause more Americans to lose their jobs.
I know what you’re thinking: Davy: Who on earth would purposefully put millions of Americans on the streets without the basic necessities of life, kill economic growth, and force more innocent men and women out of their jobs?
Good question . . . should I give you three guesses or do you already know who is likely playing the Grinch to millions of men, women, and children?
Of course you know that the culprits are Republican House Speaker John Boehner, his sidekick, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and their GOP minions in the house.
Boehner and Cantor and the GOP majority in the House of Representatives refused to consider an extension to unemployment benefits . . . unless and until corresponding cuts were made to other social programs . . . ostensibly to reduce the federal deficit.
Additionally, the GOP said that the White House would have to guarantee job growth before Boehner, at al, would even consider any extension to unemployment benefits.
Hmmm . . . guarantee job growth?
Can anyone really do that or is the GOP asking for something they know cannot be done?
You tell me.
After all, this is the same bunch of geniuses who decided that it would be a good idea to slow down the recovery from the 2008 economic debacle by obstructing every jobs initiative put forth by the Obama administration for the past 5 years.
How do Americans feel about the fact that extended unemployment benefits will be no more after tomorrow?
The Huffington Post reported, “An overwhelming majority of voters are opposed to cutting off extended jobless benefits for the unemployed, a poll revealed on Monday.
“The left-leaning Public Policy Polling surveyed voters in four key congressional districts, as well as House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) district, to gauge support for extending unemployment benefits. The poll, funded by the liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change, showed that voters across party lines were overwhelmingly in favor of extending the benefits, with 63 to 68 percent of voters in each district expressing support for preserving jobless benefits.”
The least effective Congress in the history of this democracy will return to Washington, D.C. in a couple of weeks, giving us no reason to believe that Boehner, et al, will lift their collective fingers to help millions of unemployed folks who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
So . . . what can we do?
Simple . . . we can tell our representatives in Congress to support the immediate extension of unemployment benefits and we can also let them know that every representative who fails to do so will ultimately fail to get our votes.
Can’t we?

Comments? Questions? Contact the author at: or Tweet: @DavyZJones



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