06.30.2010 0

Admitting Failure

  • On: 07/19/2010 20:12:04
  • In: Economy
  • By Bill Wilson

    Apparently acknowledging the failure of his so-called “stimulus” to meaningfully produce jobs, Barack Obama blasted Republicans for not supporting his plan to pass another unemployment extension, this time another $34 billion for those whose benefits have reached the statutory limit of 26 weeks.

    Previously, Congress has enacted extensions of unemployment benefits up to 99 weeks in some states, which expired in June. The plan now is to extend current benefits through November, but not for those after 99 weeks — just those between 26 and 99 weeks.

    Which is ironic, since in Barack Obama’s remarks yesterday, he made it appear as if the extension would apply to the so-called “99’ers”: those whose benefits have expired the maximum 99 weeks allowed under law. He touted the case of Jim Chukalas, who stood with him at the speech.

    “We’ve got a responsibility to help them make ends meet and support their families even as they’re looking for another job,” Obama said.

    “That’s why it’s so essential to pass the unemployment insurance extension that comes up for a vote tomorrow,” Obama continued. “We need to pass it for men like Jim Chukalas, who’s with me here today. Jim worked as a parts manager at a Honda dealership until about two years ago. He’s posted resumes everywhere. He’s gone door-to-door looking for jobs. But he hasn’t gotten a single interview. He’s trying to be strong for his two young kids, but now that he’s exhausted his unemployment benefits, that’s getting harder to do.”

    Only, if Mr. Chukalas has been unemployed since September 2008, he would be close to losing his eligibility for an extension even under Obama’s plan, which at a maximum will extend benefits to 99 weeks — almost two years.

    So, on one hand, Obama says he wants to help out the long-term unemployed, but on the other, will do nothing for the 1.4 million who have been unemployed for 99 weeks or longer.

    He can try to propose doing so, but it’s time to be straight with the American people. This is no insurance program. It’s welfare.

    That aside, Senate Republicans for their part have repeatedly said they will vote for Obama’s proposed extension, but that Congress should find a way to pay for it.

    That’s the least that can be done. With a $13.2 trillion national debt weighing down the economy and killing jobs amid the sovereign debt crisis and 9.5 percent unemployment, Congress must find ways to rein in uncontrolled deficit-spending.

    Under the bill, the proposed $34 billion unemployment extension is not paid for with anything other than borrowed and printed money. Republicans have offered several ways to pay for the proposed $34 billion unemployment welfare extension, including utilizing unspent ‘stimulus’ funds.

    The sovereign debt crisis the nation faces is for all intents and purposes indefensible. The national debt has grown every single year since 1958. Increasingly, the Treasury is depending on the Federal Reserve to print money to “lend” to the government to meet up with Washington’s excessive funding obligations. With over $777 billion in outstanding treasuries on its balance sheet, the Fed is right behind China and Japan as the third top lender to Congress.

    The truth is that the $34 billion unemployment extension would have already passed if Senate Democrats would simply find a way to pay for it. Obama has demonstrated he possesses neither the ability nor the will to seriously address the debt. Can Congress cut anything?

    A good place to begin would be by finding something to cut in the budget to pay for his proposed unemployment welfare benefits extension. Is that asking so much?

    Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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