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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 06, 2014

 
The Immoral Party

by digby

Wow, they really are not going to do it.

Democrats failed on Thursday to win enough Republican votes to reauthorize long-term unemployment benefits for more than a million workers cut off in December.

At least five Republicans needed to vote for the bill in order for it to advance, but only four did. The bill failed 58-to-40.

Even if the Senate eventually passes an extension of unemployment benefits, which seems unlikely, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have been unenthusiastic about holding a vote.

More than 1.7 million long-term jobless Americans have missed out on benefits since the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program lapsed on Dec. 28. Since 2008, the program had provided extra weeks of benefits to laid-off workers who use up the standard six months of state benefits.

Democrats tried to sweeten the deal by banning millionaires from receiving benefits. Thursday's measure would have required unemployment claimants to certify they'd earned less than $1 million in the previous year; previously, there was no income restriction.

The bill's cost would have been offset through "pension smoothing," or allowing companies to make smaller contributions to employee pensions, thus earning higher profits and giving the government more tax revenue.

Congress routinely installs temporary federal benefit programs when the economy sours, then lets them expire when it improves. Democrats say that with an unprecedented 3.9 million Americans unemployed six months or longer, it's too soon to drop the benefits.

But they haven't found a way to win Republican support. Before Thursday's vote, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged the bill had little chance of advancing. "Sadly, we're going to face another filibuster," he said.

Durbin listed some of the ways Democrats say they've tried to compromise, including by offsetting the cost of the bill with cuts to other parts of the budget and allowing Republicans to offer amendments during a vote last month. (Republicans have said the offsets were gimmicks and the amendment votes were rigged.) Durbin said that left only one possible explanation.

"The real reason the [Republican] political leaders in the Senate want to stop unemployment benefits is they believe unemployed people are lazy," he said.

They are immoral bastards and if there is a hell, they are all going to it. And if there is such a thing as karma, they're coming back as the single celled creatures they really are.

I think this may be a big moment. Refusing to extend unemployment benefits, food stamp cuts, the war on Obamacare really are an escalation in the partisan wars that goes beyond "culture" or region or even race (although that still plays a big part in it.) The GOP is now positioning itself as the official "fuck you" party, not even making the slightest attempt to appear to be "Christian" or "compassionate conservatives." They're not even deploying the usual trope about "the deficit" or "living within our means."

It's all the way down to the fundamental argument now: poor people deserve what they get. And if that is hunger, sickness and death so be it.

Not that we didn't know that:


In fact, they're so twisted, they've come to believe that they can declare up is down knowing that many millions of Americans will all nod in agreement:

"I believe it is immoral for this country to have as a policy extending long-term unemployments [benefits] to people rather than us working on creation of jobs," {Rep. Pete] Sessions said. "A job is the most important attribute, I believe, in a free enterprise system."

"Creation of jobs" means giving millionaires and corporations more tax breaks, in case you were wondering.

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