More Squeezing Of The Working Class
Perino Confirms White House Won’t Extend Jobless Benefits, Says People Should Just Find A Job
Video and transcript available at Think Progress:
During today’s press briefing, White House press secretary Dana Perino suggested the Bush administration would oppose any effort to extend jobless benefits — a stance the White House has taken before. She explained their position by saying, “we want people to be able to return to the workplace as soon as possible.” The suggestion was that extending benefits somehow prevents people from returning to work.
She concluded by saying that “the best way to help” the economy and unemployed people is for unemployed people to simply “get back to work.”
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It is both insulting and naive to suggest that people aren’t working because jobless benefits are somehow too generous and they’re too lazy to look for work again. People aren’t working because Bushonomics have hemorrhaged jobs and slashed the safety nets for laid off workers:
– The Department of Labor reported last week that the country shed 159,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate has increased to its highest level in five years.
– The Washington Post reported yesterday that “unemployment claims are at a seven-year high, and factory orders are sharply down. … Small businesses can’t get financing.”
– According to a July survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are being forced to slash spending and cut jobs “in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year,” more than triple the size of the previous year’s.
– State jobless funds are drying out. According to the National Employment Law Project, at least 11 states are facing financial challenges paying their jobless benefits.
The Bush administration’s refusal to extend a helping hand to those punished by the economy it created is nothing new: Last month, the White House threatened to veto a second stimulus package over opposition to an expansion of food stamps benefits.
ThinkFast, October 8, 2008:
The Congressional Budget Office’s top budget analyst said that the prolonged downturn in the stock market “has wiped out about $2 trillion in Americans’ retirement savings in the past 15 months, a blow that could force workers to stay on the job longer than planned, rein in spending and possibly further stall an economy reliant on consumer dollars.”
“The federal budget deficit hit a new record in the just-completed 2008 budget year under the latest estimates from the CBO. The record $438 billion shortfall for the budget year that ended last week is up from $162 billion posted last year. The previous record of $413 billion was posted in 2004.” Next year’s deficit was recently projected to be as high as $600 billion.
Nearly one in six American homeowners owe “more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults — the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year.” So many homeowners “under water” is “likely to mean more eventual foreclosures” and increased pressure on an economy already in a downturn.