Thursday, February 16, 2012

Working for the Jobless?

I am so glad that Congress came to its senses and approved extending the payroll tax measure. After three years of Democrats having to virtually fight for any measure to be approved by the GOP aka the Party of No, this time around there was no big fight to approve this measure. Being on an election year and with the Congress approval rate at its lowest (10% approval rate according to Gallup as of February 8th, 2012) is no wonder Congress and specially the Republican Party have decided to be benevolent and finally work, literally work, instead of simply occupy a chair and vote against everything suggested by the opposing party.

Now here’s the punch line… After openly and carelessly opposing anything that would benefit the middle class and the unemployed, at times even mocking the unemployed, John Boehner [R] has the audacity of blaming the Democrats for playing political games, in a statement published by the Associated Press, Boehner said “We are not going to allow the Democrats to continue to play political games and raise taxes on working Americans. We made the decision to bring them to the table so that the games would stop and we would get this work done.” First of all, I think that in negotiations everyone has to come to the table, not “bring them” or did Boehner personally grabbed the hand of each Democrat Congressperson and pull them to the table? No. Coming to the table, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, is what Congress should do to negotiate new bills and measures, the problem is… Republicans haven’t really negotiated anything in a long time, unless holding things hostage can be called negotiating, so I guess they’ve forgotten how Congress is supposed to work. Second, after 3 years of constantly blocking every measure, of constantly discarding benefits for the poor and middle class and giving priority to the measures that would only benefit the very wealthy and multinational corporations, does the GOP really think people will change their minds about the awful job Congress has been doing since President Obama took office? Does the GOP really think that Americans are so stupid?

Now, they want to take the ‘glory’ for simply doing their job, after three years of playing golf paid for with our taxes; after countless days of vacations and holidays, and after three years of perceiving a hefty salary for not working while the average unemployed American has to survive on $300 a week! Now they are puffing and huffing that they’ve worked for the American people, give me a break!

We must bear in mind that they managed to inflict some damage to the unemployed – they would not be Republicans if they didn’t do that – but they are not eager to let us know what they got away with “for the good of the American citizen.” Thanks to the Republicans in Congress, those unemployed will see the a reduction in the numbers of weeks for which they can claim unemployment benefits, from 99 weeks down to 73, and we can truly thank the Democrats who fought to defend the unemployed during this economic crises, Republicans wanted to bring it down to only 59 weeks!

Republicans brought a lot of nonsense to the negotiation table that thankfully was rejected by the Democrats. Among the things the Republicans wanted was that for a person to obtain their unemployment benefits, they had to obtain a high school equivalency degree or GED. Where do they come up with these absurd ideas? Do they talk among themselves and, as if a joke, choose the wildest and craziest idea among them to bring to the table perhaps in an effort to shock the Democrats? Now, please, can anyone tell me why, if I worked and paid into my unemployment insurance and as well as my employer and I get laid off, would I have to get any degree to receive what is rightfully mine? But of course, the GOP is constantly trying to ‘work for the American people,’ they just don’t say that the American people they work for must, in order for the Republicans in Congress to help them, have a bank account exceeding a million dollars – otherwise, you don’t qualify for them to keep your interests in mind.

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