What's pleasantly surprising is that despite Republican efforts to stall any safe jobs bill, the economy has picked up. Unemployment dropped in the latest report to 7%, the lowest number in five years.
That's forty-five straight months of improved job numbers. Now that's a great streak, but when you start in such a deep hole, it's more of a continued improvement, but not a clean bill of health. A healthy overall unemployment number should be somewhere in the two or three percent range. Despite GOP obstruction, the President's plans, along with those of the Fed, are yielding small and steady results. And that could end up being bad news.
Job growth is bad news? Leave it to the GOP to turn improvements into detriments for hundreds of thousands. The Republicans are moving to punish those who weren't lucky enough to grab onto a job and make them suffer even more. The GOP doesn't want to renew the extended unemployment coverage for millions after their state support runs out. And of course, timing is everything. As much as it's a time of "cheer," it's also the time of great despair and the highest numbers of suicide. Being destitute, devoid of hope is a major cause. This is not the time to cut aid to the poor. Food stamps and unemployment need to be continued.
If the GOP really cares -- not that anyone believes that -- but if there's a chance there's a compassionate soul trapped in the body of a Republican, think about working on a reasonable jobs bill. Think about helping with passing a version of the Senate immigration bill. Stop your war on women and healthcare for the poor. And please don't penalize the unemployed who are just trying to find one of the few jobs out there that you haven't found ways to defund or restrict with blockage in the House and Senate.
Being a Scrooge is not only a stigma you'll be able to easily shun, but a compassionate one that you need to shed.
You can't have it both ways. You can't fight job creation on every level, then because the President's plans seem to be working, albeit slowly, slap down the job hunters who haven't been as fortunate.
Find a jobs bill and then, when enough people are working, you might consider cutting back jobless benefits. But now's not the time. Remove people from unemployment with jobs. That's the healthy way. Then the reason to trim extended funding will follow. We're not there yet.
Republicans, if you're not prepared to confess to the world that the President and his party has ushered through some steady economic growth, don't take it out on the less fortunate by further victimizing the jobless, the hungry and those in need. Increasing jobs, decreases unemployment. Don't cut essential programs. It's that simple.