Cruelty haunts the halls of Congress

“Cruelty” is defined as indifference to suffering, even positive pleasure in inflicting it.

Given that definition, the 27 million Americans who are either unemployed or without full-time work are the victims of cruelty perpetrated by corporations that sit on record profits that should be used to put people back to work.

Given that definition the 2 million Americans who will lose their unemployment benefits this December are the victims of cruelty. A Congress about to spend more than $770 billion on continued tax breaks for the rich is stalling on spending the $65 billion it would take to extend everyone’s unemployment benefits for a full year.

Cruelty is deciding to let the jobless suffer this Christmas, while the rich get millions in bigger handouts.

Cruelty is doing this while fully cognizant that extended unemployment benefits, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would stimulate the economy, create and save jobs and benefit everyone, not just the recipients of the aid.

Cruelty is deciding to let millions of children of the jobless go hungry so the GOP can score political points with tea party fanatics.

Cruelty is cutting off the lifeline people have when you understand that unemployment insurance is just about the only thing immediately available that can stimulate economic growth. Economists agree that the stimulus program and unemployment benefits are probably the only two things that created any economic growth this year.

Cruelty is denying an extension of benefits under the guise of fiscal prudence while you give the rich $777 billion that they will horde and that they will not use to create jobs.

GOP claims that tax breaks for the rich trickle down to everyone are more of a cruel hoax now than ever before.

The government is full of born-again and so-called deficit hawk Scrooges saying “Bah, humbug!” to the jobless, while counting gold for the top elite.

The government reported last week that American companies just had their best quarter ever, earning $1.659 trillion in profits. But where are the jobs?

The banks are buckling under piles of cash with $981 billion in excess reserves. That amounts to five times the amount of excess cash they had in 2008. But where are the jobs?

Given this reality it is beyond belief that a major political party in a modern nation could contemplate denying extensions of unemployment benefits.

Don’t bet on ghosts of past, present and yet to come to persuade these betrayers to do the right thing. Only mass pressure – calls, petitions, letters to editors, demonstrations, sit-ins – will force them to extend unemployment benefits, invest in job creation, stop bailouts for millionaires,  protect and improve Social Security, move on equality laws like the DREAM Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

All of these legislative agenda items can strengthen the Main Street economy and help unify the country in a better direction.

Take action. Don’t let cruelty win.

Photo: Job seekers line up in Brooklyn, N.Y. to apply for a few jobs at American Apparel, June 2010. (hunter.gatherer/CC)




PW Editorial Board
PW Editorial Board

People’s World editorial board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik,  Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims