President Obama paraded three unemployed people before the press and the cameras of national media, to blame the Republican party, yet again, for the problems in our economy.
Specifically, he accused Republicans of holding up the vote to extend unemployment benefits. “Not once, or twice, but three times.” And the reason they do this is, for political gain. It seems only Republicans are motivated by “political gain”; even though, President Obama believes, political gain, in the area you believe in, is not only good, it is “the right thing”.
He is seeking an opportunity with voters to pull the potential outcome in November back from disaster. Additionally, extending federal unemployment benefits saves unions money, having to support their membership which are out of work because of the poor economy.
Polls, now, indicate Republicans, riding a surge of discontent with the health care, the poor management of the oil spill, and the overall poor economic performance, could have enough momentum to regain control of either House of Congress. People also do not like the federal government pursuing lawsuits against states choosing to protect their borders and laws.
He spoke sympathetically about the emotional challenges of seeking a job while on unemployment. It was apparent he has never experienced unemployment and where his next check will come from. To strengthen his position, he brought three citizens who are depending on unemployment for their bills.
He expressed a strong desire that Congress passes the legislation in front of it, to offer tax cuts and lending to small businesses, and extend the unemployment benefits from 99 weeks to 120 weeks.
He claims Republicans are without compassion, willing to let people suffer and risk losing everything, so they can gain a few votes. Of course, that really doesn’t sound like a winning strategy, letting people suffer and keep people from getting a job?
Let’s be clear on a couple of points.
First, offering a few tax cuts and cheap credit will not create jobs any better than what is happening right now. Wise, successful businesses are able to get credit if they need it, and if the bank can afford to loan it to them; but the smart businessmen are holding back on investing and hiring until they can get a handle on the demands of the health care TAX, the potential costs of the “Cap and Trade” energy taxes, and once they sort out the issues of the immigration debate; since the Administration’s focus has been entirely on punishing businesses over law enforcement.
Second, the average wait from filing for benefits to finding a new job has increased, but to say it is necessary to pay benefits for over 2 years? Does the President truly believe the economy is not going to turn around faster for people diligently seeking a new job; willing to re-train, re-locate, or re-establish themselves? Most individuals who struggle more than a year with unemployment have chosen to limit their pursuit in some fashion that creates an artificial limit to their ability to find a job.
But, in the end, the Republicans are not the roadblock in this situation. Last fall, Congress passed an extension to unemployment. At that time, the President insisted these benefits be paid for with budget cuts. The Congress found them. This time, the President is asking for $33-34 billion in new spending; but Republicans want to provide the extension, with cuts or savings from somewhere else.
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, Senate minority leader, proposed using $34 billion of the remaining, unspent $400+billion in the original stimulus package, and re-directing it to unemployment extensions.
Democrats do not want this. They are demanding new spending. Somehow, you can’t truly show compassion without putting yourself further in debt. We are over $1 trillion in additional debt over the past year.
Still, not all Democrats are on board. Senator Nelson, D-Nebraska, is still unwilling to approve a package that is not paid for.
I believe the President is sincere when he asks for “help to dig ourselves out of this economic hole we are in.” I’m just not certain he understands the image he suggest when you are in a hole and attempt to dig your way out. You are doomed to fail, because you cannot “dig up”.