Fancy having gone through the holidays with no job for 99 weeks, and probably barely scraping by for the year, even with a few scraps of public assistance. Perhaps your kids never have quite enough to eat, and you’re trying to fill them up with pasta, bread, and potatoes. You’ve gone to your local food bank, if there indeed is one where you live, only to find empty shelves. You may be lucky enough to discover a relief group that will serve you and your family turkey dinner on December 25, but you will feel like a failure trotting them down to the free dinner. No one would blame you for rather bitterly wondering why the folks that put on these feeds on Thanksgiving and Christmas…don’t seem to care about poverty the rest of the year.
Perhaps you still have a credit card, and know you shouldn’t have, but you charged a few gifts for your kids to open on Christmas day; maybe you’ll even sign the cards, ‘with love from Santa’, so that other kids won’t tease them for having been ‘naughty’, since they got nothing for Christmas.
You may already have sold or hocked anything you have to get a bit of temporary financial relief, but you’re out of assets. You dare not sell your car, if you even have one, because if you ever do get a job in this fucked economy, you’ll need it to get to work. For most Americans, public transportation is a bit of a laugh of a chimera, and even though you can’t afford to put gas in it now, perhaps maybe you can find a way…if you find a damned job.
But wait! The Guardian is reporting that just as soon as Congress comes back, the Democrats will push hard for an extension for your unemployment benefits! They cared a lot that the extension wasn’t part of the budget deal most of them voted for, but hey: you can’t always get what you want, can you?
But hell’s bells, they may now have a Big Fat Practical Reason to make sure you and your family can survive, at least minimally, for a bit longer.
Because Recovery. And: Because Political Advantage
Unless they extend the benefits to you 1.3 million jobless slackers, even if they don’t exactly agree in their hearts (not just in their political posturing words) that doing so would be ‘a disservice to you’, they may just try to whip some votes for it. See, because they have some genuine ammunition now:
‘…studies by the congressional budget office and JP Morgan have suggested that ending the programme will knock between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points off the US economy’s growth rate and that the country will lose out on 240,000 jobs due to lower demand in 2014.
(Be sure and send a nice note to Jamie Dimon if you get three more months’ worth, or gosh, maybe six months, will you?)
Zounds, even John Boehner might be up for it; he:
‘…has indicated that he is willing to consider extending the emergency unemployment insurance, which was begun during the administration of former president George W Bush, but others in his party are preparing for a showdown over an extension to the US debt limit, which may hamper attempts to reach a compromise over the jobs issue.
And those Darling Democrats, the party of FDR, know an issue when they smell one:
Until now, the issue of long-term unemployment has received relatively little attention on Capitol Hill, which has also hit poorer Americans this year with cuts to the food stamps programme. But Democrats increasingly sense it could prove a potential weapon against Republicans, who they accuse of breaking with historic precedent by refusing to extend the programme while unemployment levels remain as high as they are.
It’s so hard to know how we can help, but those of us with anything to spare, and a way to distribute it to the hungry, helpless, or homeless, might consider reaching out to those who have hopeless days in front of them. Some grocery stores have buy-a-bag of groceries programs now, and they’ll tell you who the recipients might be. Or find you local food banks or kitchens. Is it too much to ask you to send thoughts and prayers to the Oligarchical Authors of their (and our) destruction? And if you choose to accept this mission, you might want to remind them that there *will* come day when they will be harshly reminded of their cavalier and dastardly treatment of their betters: i.e.: Us, the 99%. And you might tell them that we gave up on their Grand Frigging American Dream long ago, and just want justice, economic and all other sorts.
Merry Holidays and Fuck You, from the US Congress.
(cross-posted at My.Firedoglake.com)