President Obama made a statement today in defense of the 1.3 million Americans that Republicans are considering throwing into poverty by killing their unemployment insurance.
Here is the video:
Obama said, “Now, I know many Republicans have sworn an oath to never raise taxes as long as they live. How can it be that the only time there’s a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle class families? How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and yet, barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for one hundred sixty million Americans who really need the help? It doesn’t make sense.”
The president called out the GOP tax cut hypocrisy, “Now, some Republicans who have pushed back against the idea of extending this payroll tax cut have said you’ve got to pay for this tax cut. I’d just like to point out they haven’t always felt that way. Over the last decade they didn’t feel the need to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which is one of the reasons we face such large deficits. Indeed when Republicans took over the House earlier this year, they explicitly changed the rules to say tax cuts don’t have to be paid for. So forgive me a little bit of confusion when I hear folks insisting on tax cuts being paid for.”
Later, Obama urged Congress to extend unemployment insurance, “With millions of Americans still looking for work, it would be a terrible mistake for Congress to go home for the holidays without extending unemployment insurance. If that happens, in January they’ll be leaving 1.3 million Americans out in the cold. For a lot of families this emergency insurance is the last line of defense between hardship and catastrophe. Taking more money out of the economy now would do extraordinary harm to the economy. And if you believe that government shouldn’t take money out of people’s pockets, I hope members of Congress realize that it’s even worse when you take it out of the pockets of people who are unemployed and out there pounding the pavement and looking for work.”
The president continued, “We are going through what is still an extraordinary time in this country and in this economy. And I get letters every single day from people who talk to me and say to me, this unemployment insurance is what allowed me to keep my house before I was able to find another job. This is what allowed me to still put gas in the tank to take my kids to school. We can not play games with unemployment insurance when we still have an unemployment rate that is way too high.”
Republicans accuse Obama and the Democrats of class warfare on a daily basis, but President Obama pointed out the real tactics of America’s true class warriors. Why is that trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy did not have to be paid for, but a tax cut of a thousand dollars for working Americans does? The truth is that the Republican opposition to the extending the payroll tax cut has nothing to do with debts or deficits. The GOP does not want to do anything that might make life easier for the American people before the 2012 election.
This same rationale is why they are poised to throw 1.3 million people off of unemployment insurance.
Conservatives can hurt millions of Americans and their families with no remorse because their ideology tells them that unemployment insurance is bad. Their ideology blocks any thoughts that may occur to them about the consequences of abruptly cutting off a lifeline and throwing millions of people into a dark pit of poverty.
What all Americans need to understand, even those who grumble about Obama from the left, is that this president is the last line of defense that working Americans and the unemployed have. If he is not reelected, there will be no one in power in Washington who will speak out for both working people and the most economically vulnerable in our society.
Can you imagine a Republican president saying that we can’t take money away from those who are struggling most and give it to those who need it least?
Republicans are not only hypocrites when it comes to tax cuts, but if they are even given full power over our government again they will unleash an agenda that will entrench economic inequality and make the Gilded Age look enlightened. According to a Congressional Budget Office study, economic inequality has reached Gilded Age levels.
If the GOP controls the White House this inequality born out of recession will be the new norm. Tax cut hypocrisy is just the tip of iceberg. Republican economic ideology is dangerous to the well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans.