Let’s jump right on in, shall we?
Congress has been at odds (surprise, surprise) over whether or not to extend benefits to unemployed workers. Democrats want to pass the extension while Republicans don’t. A lot in the media have reported on this as a typical partisan staring contest…Democrats are glaring and Republicans aren’t blinking while out-of-work Americans at the end of their current unemployment benefits brace themselves for the fallout.
But something said by some Republicans during this stand-off caught my attention…something about how extending unemployment benefits removes a key motivation to find work.
Yeah, that argument just sits there like a stinky fart in a humid room.
It reminds me of a variation of that theme issued forth by Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, who opposed funding school lunch programs through the summer because she feels hunger is a motivator for folks (in this case, children too young to legally work) to find jobs.
I’ve been unemployed before…and, even though I didn’t put in a claim for unemployment benefits, the stress of bills and debt and looking but not finding was the very definition of misery. I was highly motivated to find a job…
…but that’s not what conservative politicians are talking about.
No, these politicians are giving voice to their belief that people receiving unemployment checks are lazy bums who don’t find work because they are living the life of Riley on the government dime.
Reality, however, is another thing altogether.
In reality, unemployment checks barely cover the basics and certainly do not stretch to cover luxuries.
In reality, many of the jobs lost to the recession have not been replaced.
In reality, being out of work isn’t fun or easy or enjoyable for workers who face losing their homes and cars and ability to survive much less thrive.
In reality, the economy is a feminist issue and the lack of recovery seriously impacts the lives of working-women, women trying to enter the workforce and their families.
In reality, we the people deserve some respect from those elected to serve us…the same elected officials who are getting paid on our dime.
And ’tis the lack of respect that bothers me most…that lack of respect that is displayed when politicians say that unemployed Americans need to experience the desperation of being unable to feed and house ourselves and our families in order to be properly motivated to find a job that isn’t there.
Mmmhmm, this is one of the public displays of traditional values I wish the masses would remember when they vote.
The extension of unemployment benefits is expected to come to a vote this week.