Only someone determined not to see what’s happening around them could deny that America is going through profound economic suffering. Gasoline prices are up, and that means that there’s inflation for practically everything else we buy too. At the same time, work is increasingly hard to come by. New jobs aren’t being created much any more, and old jobs are being destroyed. As a result, unemployment is way up, and that’s completing the circle of economic misery, leading to a record-breaking number of home foreclosures.
There are still some Republican members of Congress who don’t believe that the economy in trouble. Representative John Shadegg, for example, recently told Ken Marrero of the Conservative Leadership Conference that the American economy has never been better.
Yesterday, 143 Republican members of the House of Representatives joined Congressman Shadegg in his delusion, voting against a 13 week extension of unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits not welfare. They don’t create dependence. They’re a temporary helping hand in hard times, and they’re for Americans who are actually looking for work.
In these days when a tank of gas in the car to go look for a job can cost as much as a full day’s wages, a bit of help for Americans looking for work makes plain sense. Failure to provide unemployment benefits can actually make it harder for Americans to find work, depriving them of the ability even get to a job interview. Blocking unemployment benefits also removes a great deal of money from the American economy, and so leads to greater reductions in the number of jobs available.
Yet, blocking unemployment assistance is just what the following Republicans from the House of Representatives have done. These Republicans voted against H.R. 5749, the legislation to create a 13-week unemployment assistance. The message from these Republicans in Congress couldn’t be more clear: As far as they’re concerned, Americans suffering in these economic hard times can go to Hell.
If you see the name of your Representative in Congress on this list, give a phone call to the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be connected to your Representative’s office, and tell the people who answer the telephone there just what you think of the idea of voting against help for Americans looking for work.