Republican Congress critters have once again stomped on the fingers of out-of-work Americans who are clinging to unemployment aid to keep from tumbling to the depths of poverty.
Every single Republican senator recently locked arms to block consideration of a $33 billion bill to extend unemployment benefits to those who've been without work for more than six months, at which point their jobless payments expire.
Longterm joblessness is now at the highest rate since the Great Depression, and the Republicans' cold recalcitrance means more than a million Americans will now lose even the meager weekly payments that have kept them hanging on in today's jobless economy — with another 200,000 workers joining them every week.
"Too costly," grumped the GOP senators. They've suddenly turned into budget skinflints, after approving trillions of dollars to bail out Wall Street fat cats who caused today's economic mess, and while continuing to shell out $12 billion a month for nation-building in Afghanistan.
Adding insult to economic injury, the Repubs have taken to dissing out-of-work Americans as unworthy of a helping hand.
"We should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs," sniffed Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch. Arizona's Sen. Jon Kyl complained that $300-a-week jobless payments are a "disincentive for them to seek new work." Rep. Dean Heller, from Nevada, worries that the payments are "creating hobos." And Sharron Angle, the GOP Tea Party candidate for Senate in that same state, declares that unemployment benefits "really have spoiled our citizenry."
What a disgrace! It's these privileged lawmakers who are spoiled — spoiled so rotten they can't even smell the hypocrisy of showering tax dollars on the moneyed elites, then piously turning their backs on America's grassroots folks in a time of real need.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.
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