There will be time to review the budget deal
which was just struck by congressional negotiators in more detail. To
that end, the open windows on my computer show the latest labor
statistics and economic trends. But the phrase that keeps coming to
mind, especially when it comes to the unemployed, is more than 200 years
old – 229 years, to be exact. And while its gender-specific phrasing
may render it antiquated, the expression’s meaning is sadly relevant in
today’s political world:
Man’s inhumanity to man.
I know, I know. That’s a pretty depressing thing to say. But let’s
look at the facts: Federal workers will be expected to subsidize this
deal with an increase in their out-of-pocket pension costs. There will
be cuts to Medicare. Airline passengers will pay a new tax. Military
retirees - military retirees - will see their benefits cut.
And the long-term unemployed, who have paid dearly for Wall Street’s
excesses, will receive no extension of benefits. The sequester’s cuts
were disastrous, but this deal is needlessly punitive. It’s
mean-spirited toward people who are struggling through no fault of their
own, people who have chosen a life of public service, and the middle
class in general.
And presumably it will pass.
says that “Democrats flatly got beat on sequestration. Republicans are
keeping — and increasing — the deficit reduction without ever giving up a
dime in taxes.” We agree with our colleague Dave Johnson:
this was the ideal time for Democrats to take a strong stand,
especially on behalf of the unemployed. And now the time has passed.