Today Congress voted down an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Since 1970, whenever the unemployment rate has exceeded 7.2 percent, the benefits have been extended. No more.
As the Center for American Progress’s Progress Report states in an excellent piece:
…the Republicans of the 111th Congress have waged a two-year, all-out war against extending benefits, regardless of who it may hurt. The GOP’s chief defense of its position is the $12.5 billion cost of a three-month extension, or $60 billion for a full year. Such feigned concern for the deficit is made all the more deceptive when considering the same Republicans are simultaneously demanding that Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And, while these tax cuts for the rich provide very little economic stimulus, the unemployment benefits they obstruct have provided a vital economic boost to struggling families and businesses. By prioritizing the pocketbooks of the privileged over the needs of the American worker, Republicans are turning their back on their two alleged priorities: the American people and the economy.
It makes no sense.
Not when we’ve faced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Not when we’re still in a dire housing slump.
Especially not when the holiday season is upon us.
Even Scrooge would be appalled.