Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson examines the debate over extending unemployment benefits. What she finds is that there was no debate when George W. Bush was president. During a time when the unemployment rate was lower, the House approved 5 extensions, each of which was not paid for. Now House Republicans are insisting that the benefit which workers contributed to be paid for. Wouldn’t it be great if they asked for the same kind of responsibility from large corporations that pay no taxes and still receive government benefits? As Clawson points out, this policy also makes no sense because it takes buying power out of the economy. Of course, that is a common theme when it comes to how the GOP thinks about working people, as we have also seen in the debate over raising the minimum wage.
Do some poor people cheat through programs like unemployment and food stamps? Sure. So do upper income people cheat – legally – through tax dodges and estate planning. The problem is that poor people don’t fund the campaigns of the politicians who make the laws and tax policy. What poor and working class people can do is vote. Hopefully, they will remember and get to the polls.
Writing in Huffington Post, Senator Bernie Sanders asks some important questions about the “soul of America.” There is nothing bipartisan about Senator Sanders. He comes from the left and makes no attempt to hide his views. At the same time, the problems he discusses, especially the growing problem of inequality, should concern every America. Sanders asks us to consider how corporations earning big profits and paying less than ever before into the tax base. He also reminds us that American-based companies receive tax breaks for taking jobs out of the U.S. These are real problems, and Sanders is a patriot for putting them forward as national priorities. I urge you to read his essay.
Writing in Think Progress, Pat Garafalo reports that billionaire Sam Zell blamed growing poverty and income inequality on social programs that are “deincentivizing” the poor. Zell said that rather than blame the 1%, we should focus on programs that give people something for nothing.
Maybe Mr. Zell should look at bankruptcy laws that have let his Tribune Corporation get out of liabilities while paying bonuses to executives. The same laws are written to trap working people and the poor in debt to banks for credit card balances and student loans. Why is there one standard for billionaire-owned corporations and another for working people? Isn’t that welfare for the wealthy?
Working people and the middle class should stop buying Zell’s newspapers, listening to his radio stations, and watching his TV stations. He doesn’t deserve our support.