Yesterday the Senate vote on extending unemployment insurance was delayed due to bad weather. Today, the Senate plans to vote on it. Or, at least to vote on cloture so the bill can move forward without a filibuster. Democrats need at least 5 Republicans to support this bi-partisan bill. Yes, Republican Senator Dean Heller from Nevada is co-sponsoring the bill. At last count this morning, only 4 Republicans openly said they would vote for the bill. So there is real doubt about it getting through today.
Republicans say this bill isn’t needed. They claim that people are just being lazy and the extension would just keep them lazy thereby being a disservice to them. They seem to believe that if your were a finance director for a bank making in excess of $50,000 per year, you should be very happy taking a job at the fast food counter and make $7.25 per hour. Even though that means you will lose everything you have worked to get.
Additionally, Republicans seem to neglect the real struggles of getting a job after being laid off. I was in that boat a couple of times myself, and it is no fun trying to land a job. Once I actually applied for a job whose description looked like it came right out of my resume. I didn’t get it. I was told I was “too qualified” for the position they were looking to fill.
Unfortunately, especially for people in their 40s and 50s that is a common theme. Even if they are willing to take a job for less money than they originally made, companies won’t hire them. They are told they are too qualified. Or, more often than not, companies won’t hire them because they are afraid that the person will continue to look for a better paying job and leave as soon as possible.
Another hurdle for these people is that a lot of companies do not like hiring “older” workers. Despite the fact that these workers bring massive amounts of experience with them, companies find a multitude of reasons not to hire them. There are stories around the country laying out the plight of people who have not been unemployed for over 25 years. Yet, Republicans are calling them lazy because these unemployed believe they should be able to find work in their career field at reasonable wages. When to keep holding out, and when to give in is the toughest decision the people face. They are not being lazy, they are being human.
Additionally, there is currently only one opening for every three people looking for work. So, even if the insurance is cut off, only one in four people will actually be able to get a job. There are stories around the country of people with college degrees not being able to get a cashier’s job at places like Lowes and WalMart, etc.
The worst part of all of this is that since the meltdown began in 2007, the Republican Party has done absolutely nothing to help create jobs. They haven’t even proposed anything that would create jobs. Oh, they introduced more tax cuts for the wealthy. They introduced cuts in Food Stamps. They ignored the plight of the unemployed with the budget. But, they have introduced no legislation to create well-paying jobs for those who need them.
Instead, they continue their culture wars on the middle-class and the poor. Tomorrow, Sen. Rubio is going to give a speech stating the “War on Poverty” failed. Of course, he will be wrong about that. Even though there still is a lot of work to do, the war on poverty did make substantial dents in the plight of the very poor. What his speech will really entail is another ranting of how lazy the poor are because the “government gives them everything”.
Mr. Cantor has released the House’s agenda for January. Of course they will have another Obamacare bill on the agenda. But, some things missing from the agenda include Immigration Reform, Minimum Wage Increase, Extending Unemployment Insurance, Transportation and Infrastructure bill, or Closing Tax Loopholes. You know, things that might actually help!
As I wrote yesterday, the Republican Party seems more inclined to stoke the flames of discord rather than do something to help the economy. They said after the 2012 election loss they needed to be more empathetic to the middle-class and the poor. Since then, they haven’t done a single thing to show that empathy unless you count introducing legislation that hurts the middle-class and the poor.
The silent shame in all of this, is that the majority of people being hurt the most by their lack of understanding is their own constituents. Red States, especially in the south, are the poorest states in the country! But, the Republicans have figured out that if you keep discord flying, you can fool your constituents. Just keep telling them it is someone else’s fault.
I remember a time when the Republican Party was an honorable, dedicated group of people who really wanted to help the American People reach their dreams. I didn’t always agree with their methods, but at least they were serious people trying to find solutions. It is too bad that party has vanished. It won’t come back until their struggling constituents see the light and realize this Republican Party IS the problem and start to vote them out of office. One can only dream!