By Manifesto Joe
I know that much of this comes from misplaced priorities, and from anal-retentive values and attitudes. But Thursday's House vote on the extension of unemployment benefits should indicate clearly where Republicans stand on this issue, and how hatefully they are willing to play politics with the futures of millions of men, women and children.
The vote on the proposed extension of unemployment benefits was 258 for, 154 against. Procedurally, a two-thirds majority was needed to pass this measure of emergency spending. And the breakdown by party was predictable: 11 Democrats voted against, 21 Republicans for. Some 237 Democrats voted for, 143 Republicans against.
And after it was over, a spokesman for likely incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, slammed Democrats for "playing politics" with people's jobless benefits.
"Just two weeks after the election, the Democratic Leadership is playing politics with people’s unemployment benefits," Michael Steel, Mr. Boehner’s spokesman, told Fox News. (Reported by The New York Times)
Um, which planet do these people live on?
I think I can answer that. On Planet GOP, if you're "playing politics" on an issue, just accuse the other side of doing the very same thing. Chances are, millions of delusional people (i.e., Fox News viewers) will buy it. For historical precedent, consult one Joseph Goebbels.
Here's a good link for the details about this.
And, AOL News reported this:
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison also threw in a holiday-season jab at the GOP. "Sadly, the new Republican majority demonstrated today how they view extending unemployment benefits: No, No No," Ellison said in a statement. "To recall Charles Dickens: the new Republican majority wants to give Scrooge a tax break and leave the unemployed Cratchit family out in the cold for Christmas."
The often-cited reason for so many Republican votes against this humanitarian appropriation was, of course, the deficit. The price tag for this extension was estimated at $12.5 billion. That sounds like a lot, but let's put it in perspective. It's a fraction of what Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu is worth. I think some others in the top 10 among world billionaires, like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, could probably weather the loss.
And the Iraq war, favored by an overwhelming majority of Republicans, has so far cost the U.S. $743 billion (and counting). But, hey, that went for killing a whole bunch of people. Gotta get our priorities straight here.
Millions of Americans are on track to run out of jobless benefits by the end of this month. These people are our long-term unemployed. When they lose benefits, there will be a spike in bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions and homelessness. Food banks, already stressed, will be overrun with demand. Pets will be sent to "shelters" to be killed, and others will be abandoned.
The stock Republican response? As reported by AOL News:
"We're facing a fiscal crisis in this country. If we're going to choose to extend unemployment again, we've got to find a way to pay for it," Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana said at a news conference Thursday.
And then, there's Sharron Angle. Granted, she failed to win her Senate race in Nevada against current Majority Leader Harry Reid. But she garnered 45% of the vote, and I think she speaks for many Republicans here:
So, it's just a bunch of bums who would rather draw an average of $310 a week than find work? Let's get real here. Most of that money would go just to make my mortgage payment every month, just to keep the bank from foreclosing on me.
And then, there's those tax breaks for rich people. Most Democrats, including the much-too-conciliatory President Obama, realize that it's a bad idea to raise taxes across the board during a recession, or at least the aftermath of a bad one. These people (Republicans) are fighting to keep the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy individuals -- you know, those tax cuts that turned President Clinton's record surplus into a record deficit early in the Il Doofus administration. Those tax breaks for the wealthy are going to cost an estimated $700 billion over 10 years. And these people are worried about $12.5 billion to keep people from going hungry and homeless?
Republicans, I'd be happy to stop demonizing you all. I'm a moderate progressive. I honestly don't think conservatives are wrong about everything, and I fully realize that we can't go on running $1.3 trillion annual deficits without terrible ramifications. But taxes will indeed have to go up on those with the ability to pay, and especially on those who have been getting preferential treatment in the system for over three decades. There will have to be many painful cuts, but the sacrifice will have to be shared.
Until then, I will be forced to keep demonizing you. Stop playing the Lucifer cards, and then I will cease and desist.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.