Modern Age Revolution

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Are You Unemployed? Surprise! Republicans Hate You.

“You want a job? Ha! No.”

It is a known fact that the Republican Party has no interest in working to fix the catastrophically high unemployment rate in this country. After lying through their teeth during the 2010 midterms about all the jobs they planned to create, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives went to work doing everything but passing legislation designed to create jobs.

Their first piece of legislation, H.R. 1, was an appropriations bill to continue funding the government that slashed discretionary funding for a seemingly endless array of vital programs. H.R. 1 sought to “kill a program that helps low-income families weatherize their homes and permanently reduce their home energy bills, cut federal funds for employment and training services for jobless workers and for clean water and safe drinking water by more than half, and raise the risk that the WIC nutrition program may not be able to serve all eligible low-income women, infants, and children under age 5.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had its funding slashed by more than $1.3 billion.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was placed in the crosshairs for a 10% budget cut, cutting about $241 million from the agency’s budget.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) experienced a 30% cut in its budget.

“But these cuts were necessary for job growth,” Republicans told you.

But Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief economist, told you that H.R. 1 could cost “about 700,000 jobs through 2012.”

Zandi’s analysis, first reported by the Washington Post, predicts that the GOP budget plan would reduce economic growth by .5 percent this year and by .2 percent in 2012.

“Significant government spending restraint is vital, but given the still halting economic recovery, it would be counterproductive for that restraint to begin until the economy is creating enough jobs to bring down the still very high unemployment rate,” Zandi writes in his report.

And in response to the notion that the Republican plan would actually result in job cuts across the United States, the utterly abysmal Speaker of the House, John Boehner, told the country, “So be it.”

The Ohio Republican was asked at his weekly news conference about the prospect of federal job cuts if a House GOP plan to trim $100 billion in government spending passes.

“Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke. It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

The reporter who asked the question noted, however, that the government might have to pay federal unemployment assistance to laid-off workers, potentially adding more costs.

Now, this is just the first piece of legislation the Republican controlled House of Representatives passed, a spectacular devastation of the already desolate employment picture in this country. They decided to follow this up with a one-two punch of the wholly symbolic, utterly worthless, and highly counterproductive H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”. That’s right, the second thing Republicans did once they gained control of the House was attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Would you be surprised to believe that the “job killing health care law” was actually responsible for creating more than 200,000 private sector jobs (more than 1/5) of the 1.1 million private sector jobs created between the ACA being signed by President Obama in March 2010 and January 2011?

(ed. note: No, you are not surprised.)

But those are only the first two pieces of legislation the Republican controlled House passed. Now, I bet you are thinking to yourself, “What could these clowns possibly do to complete the hat trick of not giving a fuck about the unemployed?” How about rolling out H.R. 3, also known by the repugnant name “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”? As you can easily imagine, this law was not designed to create jobs. It was designed, however, to redefine what “rape” means in the United States of America:

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Yes, that’s right. Republicans in the House went from misguidedly trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to attempting to create a new kind of rape known as “forcible rape.”

But, okay, fine. This doesn’t prove that Republicans hate the unemployed. It just proves that they have not even the slightest interest in doing anything to improve the catastrophically high unemployment rate. I guess, then, we should turn to the actual things Republicans have said and done regarding the unemployed to make the case.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) claimed that extending unemployment benefits was creating “hobos.”

Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs. He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce. “I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing. “Is the government now creating hobos?” he asked.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation that would have required people applying for unemployment to pass a drug test in exchange for benefits.

Hatch introduced an amendment to the tax extenders bill that would require those who are applying for some of the benefits in that bill, including unemployment and welfare benefits, to pass a drug test in exchange for the benefits.

“Drugs are a scourge on our society — hurting children, families and communities alike,” Hatch said in a statement. “This amendment is a way to help people get off of drugs to become productive and healthy members of society, while ensuring that valuable taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted.”

Under the Hatch amendment, individuals who fail to qualify for benefits because they failed a drug test wouldn’t necessarily be jailed, but would be enrolled in a state or federal drug treatment program.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) basically told the unemployed to stop complaining about not having a job and…go back to work. At the job they don’t have anymore.

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul has a blunt message for the millions of Americans who remain unemployed in the long-term: “Accept a wage that’s less than [you] had at [your] previous job” and “get back to work.”

According to Paul, the issue is “bigger than unemployment benefits” and the Tea Party-backed Senate hopeful made his position on the matter clear in an interview with talk radio host Sue Wylie on WVLK-AM last week.

“As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that’s less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again,” Paul explained. “Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) decided it would be a top-notch idea to compare the unemployed to alcoholics and drug addicts.

FARENTHOLD: Drug testing for recipients of various welfare programs, I really think that’s something that needs to be considered. We’ve gotta, you know, nobody wants to starve anybody. Everybody wants to help folks out. But we’ve got a system where you can stay on unemployment for an awfully long time. And I think we need to create a system of decreasing benefits over time to encourage you to get a job. I think anybody who’s had an alcoholic in their life or somebody with a drug problem, realizes that until things get bad enough there’s no incentive to change. I think that we’re so generous in some of our social problems that people are unwilling to get a job outside in the heat. Rather than get 15 dollars to go get roofing they’d rather get 9 or 10 dollars in benefits. I think drug testing is not an unreasonable requirement to get benefits.

The current Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, had the genius stroke that unemployed individuals in Pennsylvania are consciously choosing not to work:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett on Friday accused some jobless Pennsylvanians of choosing to collect unemployment checks rather than going back to work, prompting swift criticism from his Democratic opponent and one of the state’s top labor leaders.

“The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there,” Corbett told Harrisburg radio station WITF at a campaign stop in Elizabethtown. “I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, ‘I can’t get people to come back to work until . . . they say, “I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.” ‘ “

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) once said, “[C]ontinuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

I could go all day like this, citing example after example of Republicans explicitly sharing their disdain for the unemployed. Or I could just once again point out that in all the time Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives since asking “Where are the jobs?” during the 2010 midterms, they have passed NOT A SINGLE FUCKING PIECE OF JOBS LEGISLATION.

But they will, however, keep coming after the reproductive rights of women in this country. Because they hate the unemployed almost as much as they hate women.

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a new bill that would allow federally-funded hospitals that oppose abortions to refuse to perform the procedure, even in cases where a woman would die without it.

Under current law, every hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid money is legally required to provide emergency care to any patient in need, regardless of his or her financial situation. If a hospital is unable to provide what the patient needs — including a life-saving abortion — it has to transfer the patient to a hospital that can.

Under H.R. 358, dubbed the “Protect Life Act” and sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), hospitals that don’t want to provide abortions could refuse to do so, even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complication that requires a doctor terminate her pregnancy. This provision would apply to the more than 600 Catholic hospitals governed by the Catholic Health Association, which are regulated by bishops and prohibited from performing abortions.


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