Last Friday, Senators Kyl and Bunning blocked legislation to extend jobless benefits to Americans for one month. Both had different reasons. Kyle said he was blocking it because he wanted the now expired ESTATE TAX to not be reinstated, as scheduled. Bunning's reasoning was that he wanted this emergency bill paid for immediately. I could point out the hypocrisy that he voted for the Bush tax cuts, the 2 wars and numerous other deficit inducing spending programs passed over the previous 8 years -- but I won't.
Letting the Estate Tax (or as people on right talk radio like to call it -- the 'Death Tax') be reinstated after a period of time is actually a good thing (details to follow). Instead, these two Republican senators - with the support of others on their side of the aisle - have blocked a bill set to provided -however minor - relief to Americans out of work.
It gets worse. In the larger package of legislation that the senate wanted to pass last week was an extension of federal transportation programs. Those too expired on Sunday, and that now means that not only will over 1.1 million workers
stop receiving benefits in the next month, 2 thousand Federal employees
are now on furlough.
Furloughs will affect employees at the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
LaHood said construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.
Among the construction sites where work will be halted: the $36 million replacement of the Humpback Bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Virginia; $15 million in bridge construction and stream rehabilitation in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and the $8 million resurfacing of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
So you see it's not just federal workers, it's all those on the chain that work with them. I don't have to tell you how critical these jobs are for our nation. EVERY Job is critical to the person working it these days. I don't have to tell you how important it is that people get unemployment insurance. From the Wonk room:
This is a fairly shocking admission of priorities. 1.1 million workers are scheduled to have their unemployment benefits expire in the next month, with 2.7 million on track to lose them by April, while unemployment is still at 9.7 percent and there are six unemployed workers for every job opening. 6.3 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or longer, which is the most since the government began keeping track in 1948 and “more than double the toll in the next-worst period, in the early 1980s.” Yet Kyl is willing to hold unemployment benefits hostage in order to fashion a tax cut for heirs of the very wealthiest estates.
Due to a Bush-era budgeting gimmick, the estate tax is currently expired, but it is set to come back in 2011 at the Clinton-era level, which Kyl has an intense interest in preventing. His proposal to slash the estate tax rate and increase its exemption would cost $250 billion over ten years, with 99 percent of the benefit going to the heirs of multi-millionaires. Under 2009 law, only 0.2 percent of estates are subject to the estate tax at all.
The lack of understanding from senators like these 2 men shows how out of touch they are with this nation's plight. They are really
that out of touch with the struggle that people are going thru. Think I am wrong? Check out this exchange from yesterdays "This Week"
ABC's "This Week" held its usual roundtable discussion this morning, with Elizabeth Vargas hosting a panel of Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, George Will, and Paul Krugman.
The last topic of conversation was introduced by Vargas this way:
"[O]f course, this weekend, we have a brand-new White House social secretary appointed to replace Desiree Rogers, a close friend of the Obamas who is exiting after a bumpy tenure, I would say. Cokie, you spoke with her. She -- she was highly criticized after the Obamas' first state dinner in which she arrived, looking absolutely gorgeous, but in what some people later said was far too fancy a dress, but most importantly, that was the state dinner that was crashed by the Salahis, who walked in without an invitation when the social secretary's office didn't have people manning the security sites."
This led to a surprisingly long chat about Desiree Rogers.
Krugman sat silently while the discussion went on (and on), before eventually interjecting:
"Can I say that 20 million Americans unemployed, the fact that we're worrying about the status of the White House social secretary....
Donaldson responded, "Paul, welcome to Washington."
What the hell is wrong with this picture? We can't even get the people who are supposed to report on the wretched acts of senators like Kyl and Bunning, they would rather talk about a social secretary than the fact that thousands of people are going to have to suffer for the actions of the few at the top. The bubble is almost incestuous in nature. The media and the GOP are failing us, and people are suffering as a result. If there are still doubts that this is indeed the 'Party of No', let this be more proof that they are. The list is getting incredibly long.
People have a right to be mad, but they should be mad about the rights things. The GOP gave a stop work order to people who need the work most, and are preventing those seeking jobs the comfort of knowing they can at least put food on their table. Bunning is up for election in November, it's time to give him a 'Stop Work Order'.