Obama won’t defend jobless benefits

12:11 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

I first read about this on wsws.org and thought it might be Trotskyist exaggeration, but alas, President Obama really has told his flunkies that not extending jobless benefits is ‘okay’, which would make millions of workers destitute shortly after Christmas:

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he hopes extended jobless benefits will be part of the budget deal, but Democrats are not at this point insisting on it.

“I don’t think we have reached that point where we say ‘this is it, take it or leave it,’ ” Durbin said on “ABC’s This Week.”

Durbin’s soft position echoes that of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who appeared last week to say no deal would be possible without the extension of jobless benefits expiring Jan. 1, but then walked the ultimatum back.

As WSWS writes, by “the administration’s own figures, allowing the federally-funded extended benefit program to expire will end cash assistance for 1.3 million people immediately after the holidays and impact an additional 3.6 million people in the first half of 2014. … In prior recessions, emergency unemployment benefits, beyond the standard aid offered by the states, have never been terminated when unemployment remained at such high levels as those prevailing today.”

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We have a long-term economic crisis in the U.S., which began under George Bush Jr. but has never been solved by President Obama. Ignore the official unemployment rate, which disappears the vast numbers who’ve simply given up on finding a job. Long-term unemployment is 2.6 percent, which according to the Council of Economic Advisers is more than twice the percent at “any other time that we have allowed benefits” to expire.

Wsws is right calling this Obama move a “cruel and callous act.” We’ve seen quite a few of them.

And it’s a quick reality check for all of us regarding the guy who, a few days ago, called income inequality the “defining challenge of our time.” Yeah, right.