Two million desperate job hunters will, on Jan 1, 2012, lose the only lifeline that keeps them and their families surviving. That number will swell to 6 million over the course of 2012 if Congress fails to renew the emergency federal extension of unemployment benefits.
The level of cruelty involved in not extending benefits is unimaginable. Yet this is precisely the cruelty that is being practiced by House and Senate Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, respectively.
Rather than rescuing millions of fellow Americans from joblessness and deepening poverty, Boehner has made it clear that his priority for the next month is to kill jobs programs and attack workers' rights, workplace safety and environmental protection.
The Republicans have made it clear that they could care less about the desperation of the millions of workers who must struggle and squirm for every available job, to feed their kids and keep their home. This cruelty has an especially racist and anti-woman edge as men and women of color and women, in general, face higher proportions of layoffs, joblessness and poverty.
Boehner and his cohorts could care less about the damage that playing such politics brings to the economy and this nation.
At the same time, this crisis is really far larger and deeper than it appears. There are millions of jobless workers who have run out of their unemployment benefits or never even collected their benefits. Jobless rates overall continue to stay at 9-10 percent, and up to 50% and higher for young people of color, and double digits for veterans and students.
The Republican tea party propaganda depicts the unemployed as "lazy." This is to cover up their unthinkable inaction in the face of the worst economic crisis in generations. And worse ... they have totally blocked any initiative to stimulate the economy and create more jobs for their own narrow agenda, namely to win the White House in 2012.
Case in point is President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act, a modest bill that would help save and create jobs, extend unemployment benefits, rebuild the infrastructure, and give a tax break to working-class families. Yet, the GOP, cynically blocks it in an effort to turn people's real anger and angst about the economy towards the president. Even though the overwhelming majority of the country supports a tax increase on the 1%, the Republicans refuse to listen, continuing to serve their 1% masters.
Tell the Republicans in Congress that you will not be a party to their disgraceful behavior. They must end their shameful policies and act now to extend federal emergency unemployment benefits. Click here to sign the petition.