Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bombs or unemployment & healthcare - guess which one Congress picked?

McClatchy Online
End of unemployment checks will mean no income for many

By Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on May 6, 2010

...Barring any further action from Congress, however, [many people's] "lifeline" will be cut at the end of June.

That's when she's slated to join hundreds of thousands of jobless workers nationwide who've exhausted their maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and face life with no meaningful income.

"What am I going to do then? That's going to be the end of the line for me," Nieves said, adding that she has no personal belongings she can sell for cash. "I got rid of all my stuff, so I don't own anything. All I have is the clothes on me and my kids' backs."

...With a projected $1.5 trillion federal deficit looming this year, though, lawmakers from both parties are resisting costly and politically unpopular appeals to extend benefits.

While that could change quickly in an election year, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who supported previous extensions, told Bloomberg News Service last week that 99 weeks is enough.

..."Ninety-nine weeks is sufficient? I paid into unemployment for almost 40 years of my life. How dare he (Baucus) say that. This is what hurts," Veasley-Fields said, fighting back tears. "He has no clue what it's like to have to spend money on groceries and then pray that the utility company will give you an extension so that you'll have lights."

...As of March, some 6.5 million Americans, or 44 percent of the nation's unemployed, have been jobless for 27 weeks or more. Another million people have given up on looking for jobs.

Harvard University economist Lawrence Katz said the nation is 11 million jobs short of where it should be population-wise.

...A new survey by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that of 1,202 people who were unemployed in August, two of three, or 67 percent, were still unemployed in March. While 21 percent, about one in five, were employed, 12 percent had stopped looking for work...

People in America, supposedly the one country in the world which prides itself on upholding people's fundamental rights, do NOT have as many rights as people in real first world countries. American pundits often criticize Europe and other Industrialized nations for their single payer non-profit healthcare and guarantees of unemployment benefits, and attempt to portray life in Europe as somehow lacking compared to the US. Pundits ridicule the "high" 10% unemployment rate and the supposedly terrible "debts" of social democracies in Europe (not to mention Israel). They lambaste unions that protect people from being fired without cause and prevent Europeans from having to try and subsist on sub-living wages.

But the truth is that America provides less services to its citizens yet has a deficit orders of magnitude larger than ALL of Europe and Israel combined. America has a lower life expectancy. America has a higher rate of infant deaths. American citizens can find themselves tossed out on the street with neither a home nor health insurance. It isn't people in Europe who are living in cardboard boxes and dying on the street with no care - it's Americans who are. Europe and Israel believe in human rights. The only right Americans believe in is the right of American Robber Barons to exploit people at home and abroad - and then become surprised when they find themselves exploited.

The ONLY reason we have a deficit at all and can't afford the basic civil rights of healthcare and unemployment benefits that other civilized countries enjoy is that we invest MORE THAN HALF our tax revenues each year and billions of dollars in debt toward the military-industrial complex and the US imperialistic agenda to force other nations to provide cheap labour and resources to Americans at below cost prices. Let's be clear on that.

The Republican Party in particular and even many Democratic party centrists are perfectly willing to spend trillions on warfare and conquest but not willing to spend another penny on unemployment and healthcare. With primary season now upon us and a general election this fall, I urge you to really sit down and think about how you are voting and what that vote means. Every person who considers themselves a part of the Judeo-Christian heritage of this country needs to realize that voting for bombs instead of social services is making a statement both to God and to others about yourself.

What is it you really want to say?


SJ said...

Sup Ahava on my blog there's a discussion going on (maybe a few) where you may find it interesting although you may (probably will) disagree with me.

You are welcome to post.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Thanks, SJ. We've been having a bit of a crisis of late - including the now-apparent failure of my son's shidduch. He's returning home from NY today but it looks like there's not going to be an engagement after all. We were fond of the girl, and he's trying to be stoic about it. He's decided to take the apartment anyway which is going to be a pinch financially until he can find a roommate. And just for fun we had another unexpected expense so now the VISA card has a 1000+ balance again. That means I effectively will be working for visa for the time being. Ugh.

Well, hope you have a nice Shavu'ot, or Pentecost, or whatever. Shalom.

SJ said...

Rofl Ahavah, all I can say is thank God the USA has freedom of religion. XD

And I have an excellent idea. Let us have even more government entitlements so that you can be taxed even more. XD Sounds like a plan Ahavah? ;D XD

Have a good Shavuot.

Ahavah Gayle said...

I have a better idea - recall all US troops from EVERYWHERE and shut down EVERY foreign military base. If some other government (say, in Europe) wants us there for their protection, they should have to pay the entire cost themselves. Why should US citizens pay for security for foreigner? We certainly aren't getting anything worthwhile in return.

Otherwise, bring all our soldiers home and stop wasting billions-with-a-b dollars on a global military empire we don't want and don't need. With the military expenditure reduced some 90% and limited to border patrol and homeland security, there will be plenty of money for social programs and non-profit single payer healthcare and my taxes won't have to go up one cent.