We can truly say the country is moving in the right direction–the far right, that is.
The reason for the madness: concern over the big, bad deficit.
Of course we have a huge deficit. We are in a huge recession, for Pete’s sake. How does one get out of such a hole? By doing stuff that puts people to work. Instead, we get exactly the wrong response, such as Congress’s failure to approve an extension of unemployment benefits. Or President Barack Obama’s Nov. 29 announcement of a two-year pay freeze for federal workers.
“The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government,” Obama said in announcing his decision.
My problem with that is no one has asked Wall Street and the wealthy to sacrifice anything. So far, only civil servants are kicking in.
The pay cut is being portrayed as a compromise with Republicans. If that’s a compromise, then what did the other side give up? If the answer is “nothing,” it’s not a compromise; it’s a surrender of Obama’s values.
In return for the Federal pay cut, the administration might have demanded an extension of unemployment compensation for those whose benefits are about to run out. Congress’s failure to continue these payments allows hundreds of thousands to plunge into poverty. That hurts the rest of us, because it means the feeble rate of economic recovery will slow even more.
Scrooge-like politicians can be heard explaining their opposition to extending unemployment benefits as a way to help curb the deficit. Some are actually saying that having a regular check coming only encourages the unemployed to slack off in their search for a decent job.
Or as Scrooge might say, “Go away you bum, you’d only use it to buy food.”
Yes, the jobless do use those checks to buy food and other essentials, thus keeping many others employed. The failure to extend those vital checks means more people will be thrown out of work in grocery stores, gas stations and other small businesses.
By the way, unemployment means many will let their insurance policies lapse. As if the life-health business needed another setback.