Jul 11, 2010

Newspaper puts a face on the people Senate Republicans stiffed

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus did an excellent job on Sunday putting a face on the thousands of people in Michigan losing their unemployment benefits because the U.S. Senate Republicans chose to filibuster a bill that will allow a six-month extension of unemployment benefits and Medicaid funding.

Joyce Smith is a 62 year-old Conway Township resident who has worked her entire life and never asked for any help or handouts, but she has been unable to find a job in the Bush recession - the worst recession since the Great Depression - since she was laid off from her job at a large architectural/engineering firm.

“Her unemployment benefits, which allowed her to hang onto her house and pay utilities, will end in three weeks.“ Like many people in the country, Smith doesn't have health insurance and risks losing everything she's worked hard to get in her life.

"This is going to hurt us really bad," Smith said. "This is what has kept us afloat. It's like we don't have any hope."

She gets angry thinking about senators who didn't support extending the benefits. She knows unemployment benefits are supposed to be only temporary, and she would much rather work than receive money from the government. However, she said, Michigan is in trouble.

Smith is just one of 1,572 residents who lost their unemployment benefits last month, and by end of July, 1,486 more residents will lose unemployment benefits, according toe the P & A.

Republicans are doing everything they can to stall the economic recovery, as well as to continue their war to kill the middle class.

We now hear that some Republicans think people on unemployment don’t want to work and would rather collect unemployed than work. Republicans think those who can’t find a job right now are lazy, shiftless and “welfare cheats.” That is just absurd.

Smith said it best.

"There are no jobs out there," Smith said. "These people are really in need.""I'm not freeloading, if that's what they think. Let them lose their jobs and see what they think.”

The American people got a glimpse of how much Republicans abhor the middle class and working people. U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R - OH, said last week he wants to raise the retirement age to collect full Social Security benefits to age 70.

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly, and nine out of 10 individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

The solution to keeping SS solvent past 2052 is pretty simple. Payroll taxes are only withheld from US workers' paychecks on the first $97,000 of their annual incomes. Raising that cap would address the problem.

Somehow, I doubt Republicans will sign on to that solution, and it seems they would rather see people work until they die.

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