Talking Points Tuesdays – Once again, Unemployment Benefits…

Today Republican leadership (Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Eric Cantor) met with President Obama to begin discussions on an agreement/compromise concerning the extension of Bush Era Tax Cuts.  More specifically extending tax cuts for the upper wealthy 2%

I’m not writing this to once again exhaust the tax discussion; I want to shed light on the disdain Republicans seems to have for the working class.

While wealthy Republican congressmen fight to protect their fortunes as well as the fortunes of their millionaire/billionaire buddies; 2 Million Americans will potentially lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year as congress was unable to workout an extension.  Those Americans struggling to find work will once again be slapped in the face by the government they voted.  At the same time they will be labeled as lazy folks looking for a hand out.


I don’t understand how anyone could call the majority of Americans on unemployment lazy.  If you ever been on unemployment you would know going from a $60K (annually) job to receiving $405 (before taxes) a week is NO lap of luxury. 

Weekly unemployment benefits by state (2/2009)
State  Maximum State  Maximum
Alabama $255 Montana $407
Alaska $370 Nebraska $308
Arizona $240 Nevada $362
Arkansas $409 New Hampshire $427
California $450 New Jersey $584
Colorado $475 New Mexico $455
Connecticut $519 New York $405
Delaware $330 North Carolina $494
District of Columbia $359 North Dakota $385
Florida $275 Ohio $372
Georgia $330 Oklahoma $392
Hawaii $545 Oregon $482
Idaho $362 Pennsylvania $539
Illinois $385 Rhode Island $528
Indiana $390 South Carolina $326
Iowa $443 South Dakota $285
Kansas $423 Tennessee $275
Kentucky $415 Texas $378
Louisiana $284 Utah $444
Maine $496 Vermont $409
Maryland $380 Virginia $378
Massachusetts $628 Washington $541*
Michigan $365 West Virginia $424
Minnesota $566 Wisconsin $363
Mississippi $230 Wyoming $387
Missouri $320    

Who can feed a family and pay bills on $628??

The economy is SLOWLY recovering but there is not enough job creation to support the amount of unemployed Americans on the market. 

It is time for us to do the right thing and help those who NEED the help and not worry about tax cuts for RICH MOFOS!!

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!!

Talking Points Tuesdays – 2.5 Million without Unemployment Benefits

On June 21st I wrote about the stalemate between the Republican and Democrats concerning the extension of Unemployment Benefits and adding potentially $33 billion to the National Debt; Militant Mondays – What Happened to PAYGO. My concerned back then was the spending ways of this government; and that eventually we as a nation have to pay attention to how we spend money. Even though adding $33 Billion is relatively a small amount compared to other government spending, I felt that Congress had to make sure they exhausted all viable possibilities in paying for this extension. I felt that the gov’t should follow the PAYGO rules that the Democrats championed.

Since then my stance has slightly changed as more information concerning how PAYGO works, past history and the alternatives being offered by Republicans.

  1. PAYGO – Is the practice of financing expenditures with funds that are currently available rather than borrowed.  In the case of paying for the extension of Unemployment Benefits this is considered “Emergency Spending” and PAYGO rules do not apply.
  2. Past History – Since 1950 we have extended Unemployment Benefits in every Recession except one.
  3. Republican Alternatives – Use TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money to help fund the $33 Billion needed for Unemployment Benefits.  Under current law TARP funds can only be used to pay against the National Debt; there would have to be a change in the law.  Also keep in mind when it was suggested earlier this year to use TARP money to fund a jobs bill; Republicans immediately shot that idea down without hesitation noting that TARP money should only be used to pay down the debt.

Deficit hawks have also stated that not extending Unemployment Benefits could cause more harm to the economy as the money spent on Unemployment Benefits as that money would be used by the unemployed and put back into the economy immediately.

All of the above factors helped change my mind; initially I felt that sooner or later we will have to make tough decisions in order to put this country in the right direction.  I don’t care if good ideas are from Republicans or Democrats; I just care about GOOD IDEAS! With that said I can tell you without a doubt that Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind) thoughts on how we should treat Unemployment Benefits is NOT a good idea. Recently Mike Pence was asked by Fox’s Wallace about the Republicans’ argument that the unemployment benefits be “paid for” — but why not also “pay for” a reauthorization of the tax cuts, which will cost $678 billion?

Pence responded:

“The point is we’ve got to get this economy moving again and we can’t go back to the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats or the tax-cut-and-spend policies of the prior administration.”

Many economist agree that Bush’s tax cut during his administration did not generate the economic growth they expected; so when you look at which could possibly have a worse impact on our National Debt.  I’m pretty sure helping the rich and adding $678 Billion to the debt can cause a tad more harm than adding $33 Billion to the debt and helping relieve the struggles of 2.5 Million people without unemployment.

It boggles the mind how Republicans can say with a straight face that we should “pay for” extending unemployment benefits but hey it’s cool that wealthy Americans should get a tax break that doesn’t have to be paid.

Maybe it’s me, Michelle Bachmann can you help me to better understand this concept?

See video:

Correction Michelle Bachmann, Congress did cut budgets so that the majority of the extension of unemployment benefits will be paid for.  Also as I stated earlier the exception to PAYGO is emergency spending.  Extending unemployment benefits has always been considered emergency spending.

Bachmann stated she wanted President Obama to “Cut the dramatic government spending…”; Which seems to be more dramatic $33 Billion or $678 Billion?

Update 7/20/2010:
With a 60-40 vote, the Republican filibuster was ended; setting up a potential final vote on the measure later Tuesday. The legislation would then have to return to the House for approval.

The roughly $33 billion cost of the plan will be paid for by new borrowing.

Democrats were able to reach the crucial 60-vote supermajority to overcome Republican filibuster only after Sen. Carte Goodwin (D., W.V.) was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden a few minutes before the vote. Mr. Goodwin succeeds Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.V.), who died in June.

Update 7/22/2010:

Mark Knoller reports that House votes final passage to unemployment benefits 272 to 152.  President Obama will sign as soon as bill reaches White House.

As always….
If there is something to be said, “Its On Broadway” to step up and say it!!!