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‘Party of the rich’ continues to punish the unemployed



Published: Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

‘Party of the rich’ continues to punish the unemployed

President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, said, “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” Apparently, Speaker of the House John Boehner does not agree with President Kennedy on this point.

Moreover, Speaker Boehner and the Republicans appear to be “the party of the rich.” It has been four months now since unemployment insurance has been cut off for millions of job-seekers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. On April 7, 2014, the Senate passed its version of a bill to renew emergency unemployment insurance that would cost $10 billion and includes a spending offset. However, Speaker Boehner and the “House Republicans” refuse to take any action on that bill in order to help millions of jobless American workers.

Instead, Republicans have been busy doing other things. For example, last month they passed the so-called “doc-fix” providing an economic lifeline to some of their most reliable political and financial backers, the 650,000 physicians who treat Medicare patients. But they are not willing to assist millions of jobless Americans. In addition, on April 29 Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee approved a billion, plus an additional $68 billion in interest costs. The aforementioned examples certainly magnify how the Republican position on unemployment insurance is even more hypocritical. It appears as if the Republican Party’s years-long obsession with austerity only applies to where Speaker Boehner says it does. Since when is helping fellow Americans in need a political-partisan wedge issue?

I do not understand why Speaker Boehner has decided to play hardball at the expense of unemployed American workers, while he himself lives the highlight. Perhaps, because he already knows that his fate is sealed as being one of the most ineffective speakers in history. It is unconscionable that Speaker Boehner has not acted to renew emergency unemployment insurance. Furthermore, it is mean-spirited, offensive and disgraceful when Republican leaders say that these unemployed workers are just lazy and that these extended benefits discourage people from going out to look for work. They should stop saying it and try walking in their shoes before just throwing them under the bus.

Rocco J. Parro, Poland


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