Republicans may be hurt by failure 
to extend unemployment benefits

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Two columns in today’s Sentinel – Bill Grant’s “Republicans may be hurt by failure tpo extend unemployment benefits” and George Will’s “Ignorance may not be bliss, but it is a fact for most voters in the United States” – explain why readers impoverished by the loss of extended unemployment benefits should have no illusions as to which political party is depending on voter “ignorance” to avoid accountability for their chicanery.

On December 12, 2013, the Republican-controlled House passed the 2014 “compromise” budget bill – without extending federally-funded unemployment benefits.  Moreover, the next day, Republican Speaker Boehner adjourned the House for the rest of the year!

The intended effect of adjournment was to force the Senate to pass the House version of the budget bill without amendment (e.g., extending unemployment benefits) – because any amendment would have required a “conference committee”, at which Republicans might have been forced to compromise with Democrats who supported that extension.

By adjourning, there could be no conference committee and no more compromise.  Thus, Republicans forced Democrats into a “take it or leave it” position as to the FY 2014-15 budgets – so Senate Democrats (and President Obama) reluctantly accepted “half a loaf”.

While extending jobless benefits for the chronically unemployed through 2014 would “cost” some $19 billion (as a budget entry), that figure ignores the larger economic fact that – as previously reported by the scrupulously nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – unemployment benefits (and food stamps) are among the most cost-effective federal fiscal policies available to ameliorate the effects of recession on “Main Street”.

Republicans stridently oppose both policies – thereby further damaging the economy, destroying lives and jobs, and depriving struggling businesses of paying customers.

Meanwhile, 25% of profitable U.S. companies pay no (“zero”) corporate income taxes, thereby annually depriving our Treasury of $100 billion in revenues.

Republicans enthusiastically support that policy.

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