Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unemployment Insurance and the Soulless Republican Party


The Republican attack on unemployment insurance is another example of their latent social Darwinism run amok. Led by the extreme right, they espouse a two century old belief that the poor suffer from defects, both innate and behavioral, that make them inherently inferior to other citizens. Supporting them would be akin to keeping alive people that would only go on to produce other inferior beings. Now this may seem an extreme reading of their philosophy- I’m sure that none would so boldly admit to this underlying belief- but if you read between the lines of their public statements the sentiment is certainly there.
Now with unemployment insurance these extremists are under the belief that providing this sort of safety net is somehow a disincentive to look for work, as if the poor and middle class who find themselves without work somehow enjoy not working. This is clearly assigning a belief system they would never say about themselves. Even if there are some that use the system to their benefit this way, how can you justify penalizing all long term unemployed for a “few bad apples.” I use this expression because it is the same one these same people used to explain why any sort of banking reform or punishment of those who led us down the path to depression would be wrong; you can’t punish everyone in the banking system for “a few bad apples.” Does anyone see a problem here??
That argument aside, there is a much more basic, practical, economic reason for extending unemployment insurance. There is a stimulative effect to be sure, but the most salient point is that employment in this country is not evenly distributed geographically, so there are most certainly parts of our nation that are not experiencing any sort of recovery. In these areas the supply of jobs is far less than the demand. Trenton, where I live, is such an area. Sad to say, there are parts of our country where it will take longer to find work, and extending unemployment benefits is the only decent thing to do as people continue their search for work. It is really that simple.
I left the Republican Party about 8 years ago when it sold its soul to the Tea Party and its benefactors. My Party no longer has a conscience. It no longer understands the social contract. It no longer understands that we are a nation united. This policy towards the unemployed is soulless, heartless, and cruel. It is unbefitting a great nation. Until my former Party is willing to reconnect with its past, with Lincoln, with Roosevelt, with Eisenhower, with Reagan, and yes, with Nixon, it will remain an empty vessel. And it will definitely never have my vote.

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