Monday, March 28, 2011

With High Joblessness, Republicans Cut Unemployment Benefits

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder triumphantly waved a press release crowing, "Snyder Signs Bill to Protect Unemployed," but Snyder is a Republican, so the law he just signed actually slashed state unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks.

Only a Republican would claim that cutting unemployment benefits somehow protects the jobless.

Perhaps Snyder means he's protecting the interests of the idle rich, as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce was certainly all for slashing the benefits. Thankfully, the downtrodden billionaire plutocrats won't have to pay for all that unemployment insurance, leaving so much more money for extra cases of Dom Perignon and baubles from Tiffany's.

Republicans quietly slipped the measure to cut unemployment payments from 26 weeks to 20 weeks into a bill that fixed a technical glitch that would otherwise have jeopardized the 99-week extended federal unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless Michiganites. Thus, Snyder's audacious claim that he was actually helping the jobless.

Not that Snyder is alone in his infamy.  Wherever there are Republicans in office, you can be sure workers' rights are imperiled. Republican fiefdoms Florida and Ohio are lining up similar plans to slash jobless benefits from 26 weeks to 20. Snyder just won this particular race among the GOP thugs who vie for their plutocrat overlords' favor by committing the most horrific outrages against Americans. There was no immediate word what prize Snyder won for being first across the finish line. The benefit reduction takes effect next year.

From the perspective of the GOP's plutocrat masters who outsourced and offshored all the jobs in the first place, there's simply no point in providing unemployment benefits to Americans who they have no intention of ever again hiring. Do those jobless losers expect free handouts forever? Better they starve to death sooner rather than later. The trans-national corporate nobles who call the shots in the GOP are too busy shovelling mountains of taxpayer-subsidized overseas profits from all the jobs they've created in India and China.

The Republican pols cried huge crocodile tears over the depleted unemployment insurance trust funds they said necessitated benefit cuts.  Of course, the funds became depleted because huge tax breaks allowed employers to keep money that should have gone to keep the funds afloat. Then, Republican economic policy allowed their Wall Street cronies to crash the global markets and create a catastrophic recession the unemployment funds were ill-equipped to handle. Oh, well, gas up the corporate jet and let the American people take it on the chin. After all, they're the ones who're stupid enough not to lynch us for destroying their country.

Unemployment benefits aren't just intended to help idled workers. They are supposed to help stimulate the economy by creating demand for consumer goods. Republican actions reveal they don't care much about the American economy, as their overlords are already getting rich overseas and in the equity markets.

In state houses across America, the Republicans are attacking Americans from every side.  They're union busting, raiding pension funds, and slashing pay and benefits. They're blocking and reversing clean air and water rules. They're slashing education and ditching worker safety and dumping child labor laws. They're handing state assets to big-money cronies, and allowing toxic wastes to flood wind and water. They're forcing cuts to services for the elderly and the sick, and now they've taken the first step toward eliminating jobless benefits.

The Republicans are devoted vassals to the 20% of Americans who own 84% of everything in America, which is completely understandable behavior for incorrigible toadies. Unless Americans wake up and start taxing some of that 84% of stuff, you won't have anything left of the few pennies you do have. The GOP will make sure of that.

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