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Stalling the extension of unemployment benefits is criminal politics

In his most recent weekly address, President Obama criticized Republicans for their filibustering tactics in Senate and their refusal to pass the bill on extending unemployment benefits. This is the third time Senate Republicans has stalled the bill. Anyone who opposes providing temporary unemployment benefit should consider the following:

Unemployment benefits were extended under President Bush several times. To be precise under President Bush, unemployment benefits were extended after 9/11, after Hurricane Katrina, and twice in 2003 and in 2008 with Republican support. Senate Republicans seem to suffer from selective amnesia as they do not seem to remember any of these events that happened during their administration.

Why are Republicans not supporting the measure that they once did? What is different now?

Well, America is experiencing an unprecedented level of unemployment. This is arguably the worst economic depression since 1930. If anything, this is probably the most appropriate time to extend unemployment benefits. Republicans don’t want to pass the bill simply because they want to play cheap politics without any regard for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs.

The argument that extending unemployment benefits will add to the already out of control deficit is silly and lacks substance. Everyone knows that the country is facing a record deficit and no one would like to see it increase. The truth is, however, the deficit actually tripled during President Reagan’s terms; Republicans did not worry about it then and do not want to talk about it now. When President Clinton left office, the federal budget had a surplus of $236 billion, which President George Bush happily inherited and squandered. In fact, President Bush raked up more debt than all other previous presidents. So why are Republicans raising a cold front for the deficit now but not previously? The answer is simple - cheap politics.

Extending unemployment benefits will add $34 billion to $1.56 trillion deficit. If you do the math, you will find this is a negligible impact. In addition, unemployment benefits provide the simplest and most effective form of stimulus as people who receive these checks spend their money buying food and paying bills. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) unemployment benefits offer the biggest bang for the buck of any government policy designed to jump-start economic growth — anywhere from 70 cents to $1.90 for every $1 spent on benefits. Moody's Analytics predicts a similar figure.

Extending unemployment benefits in hard times is the right thing to do by all counts. It is a shame that we have politicians who would rather apologize to BP but penalize the hard working Americans who lost their jobs.
 

Comments

  • billwhit 4 years ago

    I agree that some people, who had real jobs and lost them, thru no fault of their own, should be helped. But those that sit around and drawing benifits because they are too lazy to work, screw them! Obama is nothing but a Welfare Messiah, the more people the government pays to do nothing, the more votes they think they will get. What an Ignorant was of thinking by this Worthless Excuse of a Leader, Barrack Hussein Obama!

  • JR Bailey Casper Public Policy Examiner 4 years ago

    Hello there,

    Lovely piece, except for the historical sleight of word when it comes to the Reagan Years and what was spent, why, and what revenues were received.

    1. Reagan asked Congress to spend heavily on the military to do two things: 1. rebuild the military that Pres. Peanut had so severely debilitated. 2. Invest in Star Wars Tech which has brought forth MAJOR advancement in both the civilian and military spheres.

    I wonder why you didn't bother to mention those two VERY important facts?

    It must also be added that the Republicans (I am a registered Independent) have asked for one simple thing: that the UI bennies be paid for from the EXISTING 550 BLLION dollars sitting doing NOTHING and which can be used to help those out of work folks.

    Obummer just had to have the Stimulus Money RIGHT NOW. No time to read the bill, just PASS it!!!

    Well...if it was that important, WHY is the majority of the money still unspent?

    Cheers from Reality.

  • Melissa Denbo 4 years ago

    For those of us who still have jobs, homes, cars and food on the table, please, please be very careful about taking sides. We are in the early stages of the recession and things will certainly get worse before recovery. Everyone politician that allowed jobs to cover overseas, Financial Institutional go unregulated ( yes I know the SEC, now FINRA was the watchdog and they did nothing to prevent this mess and are very very quiet today) credit card companies, mortgage companies and please lets not forget what the insurance companies created and continue to create today. Every single financial institution which received $billions in bailout, spent more than 3 decades (30) years hammering American Consumers in one way or another with the blessing of Washington. American racked up massive debt as a result of the greed from the very same institutions that hammerred American again by taking our tax dollars and running up the deficit again with Washington's blessing. It won't end any time soon

  • Melissa Denbo 4 years ago

    The finanical institutions which received the stimulas money are the very corporations that have move million's of jobs overseas and continue to do so today. Between Washington and Corporate executives the average American, hard working people labeled as blue collar carried the tax burden for decades and these are the very same people which carry the burden of this recession. With the number of tax loop holes and non-profits that the wealthy use to avoid large tax bills, this country will remain in massive debt unless the average American can make a decent wage and go back to paying taxes and reducing the debt. Without their contribution this country will be lost. Corporations and the Ultra Wealthy alone will never get us there. This is all basic economics which our politician hav ignored. Without jobs, American can't work and without earnings, they pay no tax and without tax the deficit rises, the country suffers and the end is near. Forget the deficit start worrying about jobs

  • paul r 4 years ago

    to bill whitt you can go to hell. the worst excuse ever for a president came under republican party.. Hes name was George W Bush. He had no problem running up these enormous deficits, and giving away money in his term. you people are a bunch of hypocrites.

  • paul r 4 years ago

    to bill whitt and you others who think people are lazy, too get aa job, and to say that a person who gets unemployment,is making more money, while not working, get your damn facts straight, and to the Reagan Lover, he is the one who started this bullshit economy in the 80's. unemplyoment pays a aperson only half of there wages.. half.got it, or do i have to spell it out for you.

  • hotrod 4 years ago

    there all crooks !did you ever see a poor politcian?

  • hotrod 4 years ago

    it don't count to have big balls if their bouncing off your chin!if you don't voice your opinion to congress or sign the petition's for benifit's your blogs are wasted time

  • Mark 4 years ago

    Billwhit: Your ignorance and bigotry show through with your comment above.
    While I agree there are some who take advantage living off the system, these people have always been there, no matter who the elected officials are or were.
    Welfare Messiah? Please...like he made up our current system and government. If you think about it, corporations get more welfare in this country than any group of people.
    Oh, and let's not forget the fear, be very scared, connect Obama to a bad person, throw in Hussein, ohhhhh, he's a bad person! Please, grow up!
    Anyway, I for one do not agree with any welfare programs, especially corporate welfare. Look at those numbers if you are really concerned.
    And to our freaking dumb ash government(each and every one of them, both parties) I had an interview the other day, hopefully I get the job, but was told I will have to pass a drug test. I have no problem with this, but do when it comes to you guys and the people collecting welfare, why no drug test there?

  • downandoutgypsy 4 years ago

    As a teacher who is the victim of budget cuts, let me tell you, unemployment is not a way to make a living. I make half of what I did and am trying to raise an 8 year old on it. Too lazy to work? If there were any jobs that I wasn't 1. overqualified for, or 2. would take me on I'd snap at it and be eternally grateful. Problem is, having 17 years of experience, I am more expensive than new graduates. I'd gladly start again at a beginner teacher's salary but that is not allowed. To all you have jobs, be grateful. But think about those who don't. And realize, it may be you next. I never thought it would happen to me, I've workeed since I have been 14. Now I'm wondering which couch my daugher and I will surf on tonight.

  • joe duran 4 years ago

    If the extension passes then sorely needed money will reach the hands of those who have been forgotten by the republican jackasses! When election time comes around in November don't forget who screwed you over and made you wait for this money! The bastards who held you moneyless can be looked up on the web. Make sure you treat them with the same EXACT kindness which they showed to you! Screw 'em back!

  • joe dee 4 years ago

    SS the best thing that can happen to you is jail-you idiot

  • Bimbo Chronicles 4 years ago

    Sen. Ben Nelson (Democrat) Bucks Party, Helps GOP Block Jobless Aid
    First Posted: 07-13-10 01:27 PM | Updated: 07-13-10 03:26 PM

    huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/13/ben-nelson-bucks-party-he_n_644523.html

    I know you are counting on your regular readers to be ignorant and they are. But in a public forum someone else may drop by, Chico.

  • Kevin 4 years ago

    So Bill you would punish the majority of the people who are legitimately looking for work and cannot find it just to punish the few who do take advantage. Although I did not vote for the President I have been around through enough presidents going back to Nixon to know that people take advantage and that the current President is normally blamed for everything even if they did not create the issue at hand. Reagan spent heavily on defense which was sorely needed. Other things he did may not have been as justifiable, but he thought he was doing the right thing. Clinton gave us a surplus and Bush squandered it. Clinton gave us NAFTA as well and that is a whole different monster in its own right. No matter who is President nor who runs Congress there will be those that manipulate the system for their own personal and/or political gains. Is it right? No.

  • lg 4 years ago

    Not doing the unemployment extension is counter-productive. Food stamps, welfare and medicaid are going to cost way more. The President did not make the current welfare laws/rules and people with no income are eligible for all three. If they kept getting there $300 a week they would be buying their own food, paying their own insurance, and buying their own medicine. The US is going to pay either way so why make people suffer.

    Further - As people have moved over the last 30 years to find jobs they have severed ties with family and long time friends who could actually be willing to help out during a hardship time. The transient nature of this country has contributed to the burdens of the government as people don't have "roots" to fall back on.

  • Stan Transue 4 years ago

    One itsy bitsy minor point: YOU LIE!

    Repbulicans have offered alternate extension legislation that was identical to the Democrat plan except that it was funded (you know following the PAY-GO law that the Democratic coltrolled Congress recently passed with much fanfare and self-congratulation for fiscal discipline and which they have ignored since) using the dormant remaining funds from the 2009 Porkulus which did NOTHING to help the economy.

    Since funding or adding to the deficit is the only point of contention on this bill, the GOP version would have guaranteed unanimous GOP support.

    And what was Harry Ried's response to this very sensible compromise? He blew it off!!!!

    So who are the REAL criminals??????

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