Let Them Eat Unemployment Checks

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Well, the U.S. Congress passed yet another bill that would allow for unemployment checks to go through. That sounds good—think of all the people who need the money however small it may be. But in an effort to cut the money back because of the national debt, there will be millions of Americans who will not receive any unemployment checks at all. Why? The government is now labeling those who are “long-term unemployed” (six months or longer) who will be cut off. This way they will be given an “incentive” to get off, they will not be counted as unemployed when they receive no more checks, and this will “save” the government a couple of billion dollars. Never mind the fact that those who are receiving unemployment checks paid into the system to receive them in the first place—the government decided to cut millions off earlier than they would have been and let them sink.

Sadly, I have seen this tactic used in the administration of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. During that time, unemployment checks duration was cut from 12 months to six months—barely any time after receiving the first check. This way the government could claim that the unemployment rate was significantly down and that there was more “work.” When the last great recession hit from 1991-1993, then U.S. President George H.W. Bush increased the duration period to receive unemployment checks for up to 11 months. This has been further increased to 12 months as it originally was. However, under then U.S. President Bill Clinton there truly were not as many people applying for unemployment benefits as there are now. The economy is still pretty bad, and hiring is still not something that has gone way up. But there is a far more fundamental reason why unemployment checks have been cut back. It is simply the lack of money. Tragically, this is a good if albeit a seemingly cop-out reason. Even if this reason is a good one, here is the problem. How many of our congressional officials take a pay cut?

It is said that to gain the confidence of the people you need to lead by action. And almost none of th politicians on the federal level have taken significant pay cuts. Why not? Most Americans have had to make sacrifices. Too many have seen their pay cut, or they have lost their jobs because the economy has contracted and this means there is less money for people to spend. Why should the politicians have more money to spend that the ordinary people cannot? Another problem why I see the politicians cutting the unemployment checks is because these people are already “halfway into the grave” and why not just cut them off completely? Yes, this sounds cruel, but as many people have learned the politicians see them more as statistics than people struggling to make ends meet and prevent themselves from being thrown out into the streets. It seems that too many politicians are having less of a conscience these days to help more people out into the streets a lot sooner.

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