Reporting from Washington - As unemployment benefits expired Monday for tens of thousands of jobless workers, Democrats and Republicans renewed their haggling over whether to vote for an extension when Congress returns from its spring break next week.
At the heart of the dispute is whether the extension should be offset by spending cuts, as Republicans are demanding, or whether it constitutes an emergency, as Democrats say.
The expiration means 212,000 unemployed people will lose benefits this week, according to figures provided by the National Employment Law Project.
We just don’t have the money to pay for these unemployment extensions. Passing them would saddle our kids with unconscionable levels of debt. This is a matter of particular concern to Republican Senator Tom Coburn, who said that, by adding to the deficit, this bill would be like “stealing future opportunity from our children.” And make no mistake about it, Senator Coburn cares very deeply about the welfare of our children. In 1997, he vehemently protested against NBC’s decision to air Schindler’s List on prime time TV because of the negative effects it would have on the youths. “I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program. They were exposed to the violence of multiple gunshot head wounds, vile language, full frontal nudity and irresponsible sexual activity,” he said.
It’s tough to argue with that. For all we know, some of Senator Coburn’s supporters do get turned on by images of naked and emaciated Jews being hauled off to extermination camps, but that’s the subject of a different post. In the meantime, those 200,000 or so odd people who are getting cut off are just going to have to suck it up. A couple of weeks with no income isn’t going to hurt them, and think of the fiscal benefits that will flow to all of the children. C’mon, you guys, sacrifice one for the team. Think about something larger than yourselves. Think about the future of your country, man.
On a happier note, we learn that ExxonMobil paid no US income tax in 2009.
(UPDATE: In the interest of fairness and balance, and since Exxon brings so much joy to the world, it should be noted that they are disputing this. The original Mother Jones article has the details.)