By Ruth Conniff
What planet are Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and the Democrats on?
Obama’s own economic advisers say that unemployment is going to average 10 percent this year and 9.2 percent next year.
And yet all that Harry Reid now is proposing to spend on a new jobs bill is $15 billion over the next decade, which is peanuts. And most of those peanuts are going directly to businesses, which is the least efficient way to stimulate the economy.
There is no money to extend unemployment benefits.
There is no money to extend health care coverage to the unemployed.
There is no money to support state governments, which are having to make vicious cuts to balance their own budgets.
There is no money to create a federal jobs program.
It’s as though Reid and Obama don’t care that there are almost 15 million unemployed Americans right now and that this number is unlikely to get much lower any time soon.
It’s as though they don’t understand the magnitude of the crisis that poor people are facing.
“Low-income Americans are facing a higher unemployment rate today than at the height of the Depression,” reports DemocracyNow. “The Center for Labor Market Studies at Boston’s Northeastern University divided U.S. households into ten groups based on annual income. The lowest tenth, with an annual household income of $12,499 or less, had a fourth-quarter unemployment rate last year of 30.8 percent. The next lowest-income group had an unemployment rate of 19.1 percent.”
Oh, Reid and Obama talk about the unemployed. But those words amount to just crocodile tears since they have the power to do something about this but choose not to do so.
They seem allergic to power.
They were elected with a mandate to provide jobs and fix the economy. They have majority control. They blew the first stimulus package by designing one that was half as big as what was needed.
And now they’re blowing this one.
They could, by the reconciliation process, at least ram through the House bill, which would spend ten times as much on job creation as Reid’s pathetic bill.
But no, they’re content to lowball the recovery once more, to let millions of people grow desperate worrying about not having a job, to let families strain to the breaking point, to force families to cut back on bare necessities, and to create huge psychological scars for adults and children alike.
All because Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and the Democrats refuse to exercise the power they hold in their hands.
This isn’t just gutless. And this isn’t just bad politics. It’s a sin to let so many people in this economy suffer so needlessly.
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine. To subscribe for just $14.97 a year, just click here.