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Republicans: Against It Before They Were For It

7:19 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

First, Republicans opposed extending the payroll tax cut that put an extra $20 a week in the pockets of 160 million working Americans.

Next, they supported it. If the cost were offset the way they wanted. Even though Republicans previously had said that tax cuts never need be offset.

After that, they opposed a stopgap measure extending the break by two months. Even though the cost was offset.

Ultimately, they approved the 60-day extension.

Then, they opposed extending the tax cut another 10 months. Unless the cost were offset.

Finally, however, they supported that. Even though the cost was not, in fact, offset.

What’s that sound? It’s the frantic flailing of a grounded GOP fish: flip flop, flip flop, flip flop.

Republicans revel in casting themselves as the principled party. They claim they’re the moral majority. Their values, they contend, are unshakable. So their serial waffling on this issue is confusing. Against it; for it; against it; for it. Isn’t that what they ridiculed a Democratic Presidential candidate for?

There’s a simple explanation, however. Throughout this entire episode, Republicans never wavered or vacillated or faltered in any way in performing their most vital, their most basic function as a political party: pandering to the rich.

The thread running through this drama, from beginning to end, is Republican opposition to equitably taxing the rich. The GOP did whatever it took to prevent the nation’s millionaires and billionaires from parting with another cent. In the end, the party’s public image took a beating. But Congressional Republicans triumphed in shielding the nation’s richest from paying their fair share.

So focused are Republicans on providing welfare for the rich in the form of special tax breaks and perks that initially the party didn’t support extending the payroll tax cut for the middle class at all. Late last November, party leaders, including U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, announced they opposed a one-year expansion. Republicans said they’d allow a temporary tax cut for the middle class to expire, no problem, even though they’d previously contended they couldn’t end the supposedly temporary income tax cut Bush gave the rich because that would be a “tax increase,” and they could never support a tax increase. Not ever. Read the rest of this entry →

Recess Appointments: Backlash to Blackmail

8:00 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

In America, when gangs of bullies torment school children, pushing them around and extorting their lunch money, parents know only one response effectively counters the abuse: confrontation. Running, whining, negotiating — none of that works.

For the past year, since Republicans took the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, they’ve behaved like young thugs, extorting Democrats to get what they wanted. Employing the blackmail techniques of schoolyard gangs, House Republicans repeatedly threatened to hurt the American people and the American government if Democrats didn’t submit.

Then President Obama confronted them. In recent weeks, he finally internalized and implemented the advice of American parents on dealing with bullies. He stood his ground. He called the GOP bluff on the payroll tax. And they backed down. He recess appointed four officials, defying GOP attempts to thwart service to American workers and borrowers.

Apparently, it’s a new day in Washington, one in which Democrats, who control the presidency and the majority in the U.S. Senate, are fed up and not going to take GOP extortion anymore.

For a year, Republicans leveraged their demands with blackmail. If Democrats didn’t accept draconian and economic recovery-starving budget cuts, Republicans would shut down the government. If Democrats didn’t agree to slash the budget by exactly the amount Republicans required, the GOP would destroy the country’s credit rating.

In December, House Republicans overplayed. Initially, they’d opposed President Obama’s proposed extension of the payroll tax break that puts about $1,000 a year back into the pockets of working Americans. Just before the holidays, they changed their minds and said they’d accept a one-year extension, if it were offset by cuts in the federal budget. A dispute ensured between Democrats and Republicans about what to cut. As time ran out before the scheduled holiday break, the Senate compromised and passed a two-month extension, with the remaining 10 months to be settled later. The approval was overwhelming, 89 to 10. The Senators went home.

That bi-partisan action in the Senate left House Republicans with the choice of approving a two-month extension of a tax break they claimed to support or rejecting it, which would increase payroll taxes for 160 million workers.

For days, House Republicans refused to accept the Senate measure, threatening workers with a tax increase. The House Republicans claimed they wanted a one-year extension, but what they really wanted was a one-year extension paid for by cuts they chose without Democratic input. They demanded Senators return to Washington and vote on cuts to support a one-year deal. Or they’d increase taxes.

The Senate refused. Obama refused. They confronted the bullies.

And the bullies blinked. The House passed the two-month extension.

Before they left town, however, the House Republican majority refused to allow the Senate to recess for more than three days. The Constitution permits each chamber to deny the other the ability to adjourn for more than 72 hours. The result is charade sessions in which a lawmaker, every three days, smacks down a gavel, declares the chamber open for business, recites the Pledge of Allegiance, then strikes the gavel again to close and leaves.

No lawmaker actually works for the people during these “sessions.” But the political dance allows a chamber to claim it’s not recessed. And that’s supposed to stave off recess appointments by the President.

In this case, Republicans intended to block recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. By New Year’s, NLRB membership had dwindled to two, denying the organization the quorum that this group, whose function is to protect workers’ rights, must have to make decisions.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by law, could not fulfill all of its duties to protect borrowers from fraudulent lending practices until it had a director. Using blackmail again, Republicans said they would filibuster the appointment of any proposed director, no matter how qualified, until they got what they wanted – which was measures to weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislation designed to prevent another Wall Street collapse.

Republicans created what appeared to be a foolproof scam to cripple implementation of the law. The legislation wouldn’t be fully effective without a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director and Republicans refused to approve a director unless Democrats agreed to dilute the law. In addition, the GOP would block recess appointments by never officially recessing.

Obama rebuffed this abuse. He called a legislative session that opens for three minutes every 72 hours while 99 Senators are vacationing what it is – recessed. And he made the appointments. He explained:

“When Congress refuses to act and, as a result, hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve. Not when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”

Give ‘em hell, Barack!

Hey, GOP: Give the 99 Percent Some Lovin’

8:06 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

MTV needs to stop giving that creepy vampire guy and moony human girl in the “Twilight” series the “best kiss” prize in its annual movie awards because it’s Republicans who truly earned the trophy for the big wet smooches they lay on the 1 percent.

Just think of the GOP lovin’ that went into the Bush tax breaks that gave millionaires more than $125,000 a year and the middle class less than $1,000. Or the arduous embrace signified by cutting the capital gains tax to a rate lower than that on middle class income.

The GOP is a faithful lover to the 1 percent, steady and true. Last week, Republicans found themselves confronted with a choice between raising taxes on the 99 percent or on the 1 percent, and the GOP spared the millionaires. The GOP’s fidelity to the 1 percent is so strong that Republicans wavered on their promises – never raise taxes – and principles – tax cuts don’t have to be offset. As a result, the 99 percent is beginning to feel more than a little spurned by the GOP.

Since the days of the Bush breaks in 2001 and 2003, Republicans consistently have said that tax reductions stimulate the economy and the lost revenue needn’t be offset. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, asserted, for example: “You should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.” The GOP didn’t pay for the Bush breaks, a decision that dramatically increased the deficit, which Republicans now say the 99 percent must pay by suffering slashed government services.

Similarly, Republicans have loyally upheld their solemn pledge to lobbyist Grover Norquist to never, ever raise taxes. Last year, for example, they GOP refused to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, contending that would be a tax increase, not the end of rates intended to be temporary.

To recap: The GOP vowed never to raise taxes. The GOP defines an expiring temporary tax cut as a tax increase. And the GOP believes tax reductions don’t have to be offset.

To serve the 1 percent, however, Republicans discarded all of that supposedly sacrosanct philosophy during last week’s struggle over extending the temporary payroll tax cut. Congress voted last December to decrease for one year the payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, putting an extra $1,000 in the hands of 160 million workers during a recession to pay bills. Read the rest of this entry →

Giving Thanks for the Occupation, Election, Demonstrations

12:00 pm in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

I want to thank you, thank you
Thank you, thank you,
Thank you, thank you,
Thank you, thank you.

~ Natalie Merchant, “Kind and Generous”

This week’s holiday mandates giving thanks. For many Americans, that is complicated by the harsh years since 2008.

There’s the bitterness of lost jobs, foreclosed homes and diminished opportunity. There’s the resentment over bailing out Wall Street, then watching banksters grant themselves sensational bonuses while denying Main Street loans to save businesses. There’s the fear generated by county club conservatives demanding draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s hard to muster gratitude while suffering, to feel appreciative while dreading a meaner future.

The past two months, though, produced glimmers of hope — the occupation, the election and the mid-November demonstrations. These events suggest empowerment of the 99 percent and emergence of change. They’re reason for thanks giving, especially by those formerly in the middle class who will for the first time experience this holiday without the traditional feast.

Change began in September with the launch of Occupy Wall Street. Previously, the disaffected had rallied and protested. The newly-homeless had held signs. The jobless had marched on Wall Street, the epicenter of the economy’s crash. But this was different. These rabble-rousers didn’t protest and go home. They dug in. They offered no end date for their cries for justice. Like the sit-down strikers who inhabited the General Motors plant in Flint, Mich. for 44 days in 1936 and 1937, these protesters are determined to stay as long as necessary.

The New York occupiers’ gumption and message – “we are the 99 percent” — inspired a movement worldwide. Activists encamped in more than a 1,000 cities. And when police tried to rout them, the occupiers defied the official oppression, just as the sit-down strikers did. Emblematic is the 84-year-old Oakland, Calif. protester who said after police pepper sprayed her in the face that the experience energized her. Read the rest of this entry →

GOP Offers No Death Panels, Just Death From Lack Of Care

5:56 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

Red Alone

Red Alone by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr

Republicans concocted death panels in an attempt to terrify Americans about health care reform, then propagated the lie because they wanted insurance corporations to profit from illness and injury unfettered.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed anyway, but now the GOP has announced that it plans to kill the reform, and Medicaid and Medicare too.

In one fell swoop, Republicans would foreclose on Americas’ long-held and cherished expectation that they’ll receive health coverage from their government in their old age, impoverishment or infirmity. For the elderly, poor, unemployed, disabled and juvenile who can’t afford insurance, the GOP offers no death panels, just death from lack of care.

U.S. Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, disclosed the GOP scheme to massacre Medicare and Medicaid. Instead of the government directly paying for medical services for the elderly and impoverished, Republicans would shift costs to states and the elderly. Under their plan, instead of Medicare, the federal government would give seniors an unspecified amount of money toward the cost of premiums for private health insurance. Also, instead of Medicaid, the GOP would give states some money to help pay for insurance for the poor, which includes nursing home care for the elderly. States and the elderly then would be stuck paying insurance costs above the amount provided by the federal government.

Ryan and his GOP gang transfer medical costs to the elderly and impoverished to compensate for federal revenues lost when they slash income taxes levied on the rich and corporations by an additional 30 percent.

The GOP message to the rich and to corporations: keep your tax break and take another 30 percent. The GOP message to the middle class: pay more and lose your safety net.
Read the rest of this entry →

Rights Come with Responsibilities; the Right Shirks Theirs

8:49 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

Five years ago, a 47-year-old Missouri woman began a duplicitous on-line courtship through MySpace with a 13-year-old neighbor who once had been friends with the woman’s daughter.

The adult, Lori Drew, flirted with the 13-year-old, Megan Meier, through the guise of a fictitious, 16-year-old character named Josh Evans. Suddenly, “Josh” broke up with Miss Meier, writing to her, “the world would be a better place without you.” Just hours later, Miss Meier hung herself in her bedroom.

Words have consequences.

Drew wasn’t charged with the child’s death. In fact, a judge reversed her conviction on computer fraud charges, saying the law was intended to deal with hacking, not murder. But for most Americans, there is something deeply disturbing, something morally, if not criminally, wrong with deliberate torment, with predatory viciousness. Drew eluded accountability the same way conservatives are seeking to evade culpability after their irresponsible speech has provoked the delusional to violence.

It’s hard to draw a line directly from Drew’s cruel words to the noose around Miss Meier’s neck. Similarly, it’s difficult to directly link violent political rhetoric like Sarah Palin’s illustration showing gun sight cross hairs on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Arizona district to the shattering of Giffords’ office door after her vote for health insurance reform last March or Jared L. Loughner’s shooting spree last weekend that left six dead and Giffords and 13 others wounded.

What is clear, however, is that vile and threatening communication that becomes so repetitive that it’s routine has the effect of sanctioning an atmosphere of violence. . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Republican-Hood: Steal from the Workers; Pander to the Rich

8:27 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

Robin Hood, the guy who robbed the rich and gave to the poor, wore a short frock and tights. From the get-go, the guy serving the disadvantaged while sporting gay attire would fail the entrance exam required to become a card-carrying Republican.

The GOP is, after all, the anti-gay marriage, anti-repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell crew. More than that, Republicans are anti-working class. Their recent policies and activities show them clobbering the middle class while kissing the wealthy’s, well, you know.

Consider health insurance reform and tax cuts for the rich.

The GOP spent the entire fall election cycle yammering about the federal deficit. The world as we know it was coming to an end because of the deficit, they contended loudly and repeatedly.

Then, immediately after Election Day, Republicans insisted on extending tax cuts for the rich. They added more than $36 billion to that supposedly-cataclysmic federal deficit in 2011 so that they could pad the pockets of the nation’s millionaires.

To secure that bonus for millionaires, Republicans held hostage extension of unemployment compensation, which during this grave recession, sustains the nation’s workers who are out of jobs and, all too often, also out of foreclosed-on homes. The deal comes down to this: The average millionaire will be $100,000 richer as a result in 2011. The average worker will get $15,236 in unemployment benefits if jobless the entire year of 2011.

Republicans insisted on giving the rich $84,764 a year more than the poor.

Repealing health insurance reform, as the GOP has said it hopes to do before month’s end, would have the same result – increasing that supposedly-cataclysmic federal deficit while slamming the poor and middle class.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has calculated that the Affordable Care Act will decrease the federal deficit by $140 billion over 10 years. That’s what the GOP wants to repeal – a deficit reduction measure. Republicans want to add $140 billion to the debt.   . . . Read the rest of this entry →

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Oligarchy

8:00 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in Tiffany’s store, glistening once again
With Wall Street bonus trinkets all aglow.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Art flies from Christie’s.
But the amazing sight to see is the tax cut guarantee
For the most wealthy.

Hedge funders content, still paying 15 percent
Is the wish of Boehner and Mitch.
Help these hurt least by financial crises
Is the Chamber of Commerce pitch.
And the GOP and Tea Party can’t wait for Congress’ new session.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go.
There’s treats in the tax break deal for all the very well-heeled:
Estate tax gifts for billionaires, you know?
It’s beginning to look like oligarchy
Secret campaign gifts
Give scions power in Congress halls to force jumps to all their calls,
Always good and swift.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
If you’re doing drugs.
Look at unemployed stats; foreclosures still roaring fast,
‘merican dreams and life savings both mugged.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
Food bank grocery lists.
The only break the unemployed see is 13-month’s reprieve
jobless benefits.

Aid and career counselors for jobless 99ers
Was the wish of Bernie and friends;
Help through COLAs for veterans and grandmas;
Was the hope of liberal House Dems;
Both crushed, progressives now all dread Congress’ new session.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go.
There is a poisonous pill slipped into the tax cut deal:
Robbing Social Security, oh no!
It’s beginning to look like oligarchy.
Soon budget cuts will start
And the thing that will make them sting is the knowledge that you bring
Of the pain they’ll impart.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go.
Take a look in Congress Hall, middle class badly mauled,
By demands from Republicans, you know?
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Debts are racking up;
To help jobless 15 million, the bill’s $900 billion
— With the wealthy’s cut.

A steady job with good pay, health benefits to stay
Is the wish of the middle class.
A good economy; hope, security
Are the goals of the working class.
But they know Congress handles their concerns very last.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
No money for construction or local government bond funds.
The stimulus will be much too low, so
It’s beginning to look like oligarchy;
Shake hard workers down
And give to the wealthy few, untrue to the red, white and blue,
Their greed has no bounds.

***

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

1951 — Meredith Wilson

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in ev’ry store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again</em

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Republicans Don’t Trust Americans

9:32 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

Republican fund-raisers are treating Americans like little children, as if the GOP knows best and must shelter the youngsters from the truth.

It’s like when a kindergartner asks his father if mommy is coming home soon, and the widower replies that she’s on a long business trip. The parent is attempting to shield the child from the cruel truth, afraid the little one can’t handle it.

That’s what Republican campaign fund-raising groups are doing by concealing their donors from the public. The GOP does not trust Americans to handle the information. Republican operatives want to shield voters from knowing who is actually paying for GOP attack ads. The GOP fears the consequences if Americans know the truth – exactly which giant corporations and Wall Street banksters are funding vicious screeds against Democrats because those covert donors believe Republicans will deliver for big business.

The secret GOP benefactors are right about one thing: A Republican majority will work for the rich. In a study of income growth post WWII, Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels determined that earnings rose faster at all income levels under Democratic administrations, but especially for the middle class and the poor. Under Republican presidents, the wealthiest benefited the most, increasing income inequality.

After the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court struck down decades of precedent in January in its Citizens United ruling, defining corporations as “persons” and permitting them to pour unlimited cash into political advertising, Democrats offered legislation to temper that newly-granted corporate power. Called the DISCLOSE Act – for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections — it would have required revelation of corporate donations.

Republicans wanted concealment of their corporate sources, however, and scuttled the DISCLOSE Act. This freed private political fund-raising groups to take as much money as they can from corporations while providing a cloak of anonymity.

The Republican and Democratic parties still must disclose donors, and unions like the United Steelworkers (USW), which get their political action committee contributions from American members, must provide detailed information on how much they spend, which candidates they support, and the names of people who supply in-kind services as well as the value of the services.

The story of health insurers’ disclosed contributions to political parties reveals why Republicans prefer to keep Americans in the dark about gifts to GOP private fund-raising groups.

Public reports show that last year, the health insurance industry split its donations between the two parties, but this year, after passage of health insurance reform, the contributions are running three to one for Republicans. The insurance corporations have made their demands clear to Republican beneficiaries. They want Republicans to retain in the law the financial windfalls for insurance corporations – that would be mandates that uninsured Americans get coverage and fines for those who don’t. And they want Republicans to delete aspects that will cost insurance companies – that would be benefits for Americans like requirements that insurers cover sick children and injunctions against dropping policy holders when they get sick.

Wendell Potter, a former executive at Cigna Corp., one of the nation’s largest health insurance corporations, told Noam N. Levey of the Chicago Tribune:

“The industry would love to have a Republican Congress. They were very, very successful during the years of Republican domination in Washington.”

Voters need to know that insurance corporations overwhelmingly favor Republicans and what the industry expects to get from the GOP. But Americans will not know how much money insurers and other corporations give to shadowy Republican fund-raising groups and what those donors demand.

A New York Times investigation provided some insight into one GOP shadow group, the American Future Fund. It has spent $6 million so far on ads attacking Democrats in 13 states. The Times discovered that Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings, one of the nation’s largest corn-based ethanol companies, provided the seed money for American Future Fund. The Times determined that American Future Fund money is funding ads to defeat Democrats who sit on legislative committees that directly affect the ethanol industry and agricultural subsidies.

Two other secretive Republican groups, American Crossroads GPS and the so-called U.S. Chamber of Commerce, plan to spend $145 million to crush Democrats while concealing their funding sources from Americans.

American Crossroads GPS, brainchild of Republican operative Karl Rove, plans to spend $70 million. Mel Sembler, a shopping mall magnate, told the New York Times that wealthy donors have given the GPS group six and seven-figure checks, and Republicans said one donor, who they refused to name, gave several million dollars. Sembler told the Times why clandestine giving is so attractive to corporations:

“They want to be able to be helpful but not be seen by the public as taking sides.”

What they don’t want to be seen doing is lining their pockets by buying Republican politicians. Neither do the Republican beneficiaries.

Like GPS, the so-called U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an elephant-sized player in the secretive Republican support game. It has spent $25 million on more than 8,000 ads slamming Democrats and backing corporate Republican candidates. It plans to spend $50 million more.

Oddly, the commerce group calls itself the U.S. Chamber while admitting foreign firms and soliciting funds from corporations in places like Bahrain, India and Singapore whose interests may conflict with those of American companies and American citizens. An investigation by Think Progress, a project of the non-partisan Center for American Progress Action Fund, revealed that the so-called U.S. Chamber has accepted at least $885,000 from 84 foreign firms, money that it placed in the same account from which it draws funds to sponsor ads attacking Democratic candidates.

The so-called U.S. Chamber denied that it illegally co-mingles money it gets from foreign corporations with funds it uses to attack Democrats. When Think Progress and others asked the so-called U.S. Chamber to divulge the account’s firewall to the public, the so-called U.S. Chamber responded by repeating its assurance that it does nothing wrong and asserting, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.”

Basically, the so-called U.S. Chamber is saying, “trust us,” to the American public. On the other hand, the “U.S. Chamber” and groups like American Crossroads GPS don’t trust the American public to know their donor lists. What they don’t trust is that Americans will do what the GOP wants on Nov. 2 if Republicans’ corporate donors are exposed.

The USW challenges the “U.S. Chamber” and GOP funding groups like American Crossroads GPS to show their trust in the American people by disclosing their donors.

Republicans Kiss the Rich; Diss the Jobless

8:58 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

A brutal competition pits worker against worker continually now in this country. Five unemployed people vie with each other for each available job. It’s like a cruel game of musical chairs, with five desperate competitors for one seat.

Workers who’ve lost cars to repossession and homes to foreclosure run around frantically trying to get that one job. When the music stops, four disheartened, still-unemployed people move to other viscous cycles of five struggling to win one available job.

Republicans watching this blame the 14.6 million unemployed Americans for the inadequate number of chairs. They’ve called the unemployed lazy and refused to extend unemployment compensation. Meanwhile, the GOP is demanding an extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.

To the GOP, the rich are deserving. Republicans see the unemployed as leeches — not as victims of filthy-rich, banksters who destroyed the economy, not as the stalwart citizens whose tax money Bush used to bail out Wall Street. To Republicans, the unemployed – along with the un-rich – deserve only disrespect.

And they’ve been heaping it on.

Republican Sen. John Kyl of Arizona said during a debate on the Senate floor, for example. “In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah demanded drug tests for those receiving unemployment benefits, "We should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs."

Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada said extending benefits to the unemployed, who she characterized as “spoiled,” would be “terrible.” She told a radio station: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job, but it doesn’t pay as much. And so that’s what’s happened to us is that we have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry and said you don’t want the jobs that are available.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina said the unemployed, like stupid stray animals, should not be fed: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania denied U.S. Labor Department statistics, insisting there are plenty of jobs, but the unemployed are shiftless and prefer their paltry government benefits over jobs: "The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there.”

By contrast, Democrats, who view the highest unemployment rates in 28 years as an emergency, have repeatedly tried to get a compensation extension passed and will mount another attempt Tuesday.

Disdainful of the unemployed, Republicans have refused to vote to extend the lifeline unless Congress ends its historical practice of classifying unemployment compensation as emergency funding, which is added to the deficit. The GOP is demanding that the $35 billion cost of extending compensation be offset by cutting federal programs or by reducing the stimulus – the very program designed to create jobs for the unemployed. In the six weeks since extended unemployment compensation expired and Republicans have blocked renewal, weekly checks averaging $300 ended for 2 million Americans.

Republicans try to sound fiscally responsible as they explain their votes disregarding the plight of the unemployed. But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s words wreck the GOP’s deliberate disinformation campaign. While insisting that unemployment compensation extension be offset, Kyl says that’s entirely unnecessary for extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. When Republicans give rich people tax breaks, the GOP thinks it’s fine for the $678 billion cost to be added to the deficit.

Minority whip Kyl’s stance is held by the majority in his party. Most Republicans agree Congress need not pay for tax cuts benefitting the wealthy. “That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “So I think whatSenator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent and the average spell of joblessness lasting 35 weeks.In May, there were 11.8 million more unemployed workers than there were job openings.

Democrats see the pain of losing a job, financial security and hope for the future. Republicans see something entirely different – lazy, drug-addicted moochers living off the rich who the GOP believes should continue to be taxed at rates lower than those paid by their secretaries.