Thursday, July 01, 2010

Holding the unemployed hostage to midterms

This headline pretty well sums up our dysfunctional government:

Unemployment bill fails to beat filibuster, 59-37

Republicans, along with a delusional Ben Nelson, believe the prospect of picking up a few more seats in Congress is more valuable than easing the burden for the unemployed in an economy that still isn't adding jobs. Or aiding states whose coffers are exhausted, which could make a real impact on the national economy. The cynicism is, even by current standards, stunning...and since most of the media simply reports, "Senate fails to extend jobless benefits," the real villains here go unmolested.

The pity, though, is that this dispute has gotten quieter and quieter, even as its results have become more and more dire. The vote last night means that 2 million Americans will lose their unemployment checks by July 12. But neither the New York Times nor The Washington Post are carrying it on their homepages above the fold.

As my unmarried partner Annie Lowrey points out, the nature of these benefits, which expire every few months and force a new round of votes and battles, has left everyone -- particularly the Senate exhausted by the subject. Promoting another story about another vote to extend another round of another jobless program blends into the background at this point. And that means that even if the Senate does manage to pass one more extension when they return in mid-July, it's likely to be the last of the extensions. The problem, of course, is that unemployment does not share their exhaustion.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting by Site Meter