It is to be hoped our legislators, especially Tea Party Republicans, during their at-home recess, hear howls of righteous outrage from good citizens Coast to Coast in this nation.
Republicans in the U.S. Congress refused to extend unemployment benefits to 1.3 million American workers, who were hung out to dry right after Christmas. Talk about Scrooge and lumps of coal in stockings! After cutting food stamps, the Republicans and some Democrats, in their despicably misplaced “wisdom,” have now fired another salvo, this time at unemployed workers. The very victims of a massive Wall Street-induced recession of almost six years ago are being villainized by ultra-right-wingers.
Here is their twisted rationale: People who receive food stamps, at least “most” of them, are lazy whelps who lay around, allergic to work. People who receive unemployment benefits have become soft and shiftless and want to keep collecting government handouts rather than go to work. These right-wingers have become adept at convincing too many gullible citizens that “some” is “most.” Of course there are some lazy do-nothings in this country, most notably (ahem!) in the U.S. Congress. But using the “lazy” label to deny working people food and to cut off financial life support to so many willing workers looking desperately for work is absolutely unforgivable and immoral, especially coming from a right-wing faction that constantly gives lip service to family values and Christian compassion.
These Republican naysayers have said they might go along with an unemployment extension if they and their colleagues can come up with an offset to pay for the estimated $24-billion bill. OK, that’s fine. It’s a no-brainer. Just revoke some of the billions in welfare and tax breaks for the super rich. Cancel those extravagant and needless subsidies so freely given to giant corporations that spend so much money to keep these legislators elected and dancing to their tune.
Some of these mean-spirited right-wingers have become nearly vicious, advocating an economic-social Darwinism comparable to dog-eat-dog. Theirs is a “tough luck, buddy” policy that says, in so many words, “If you’re broke and hungry, you must be lazy, so get a job or maybe two jobs and quit your whining.” Never mind there are three applicants for every one job in many states these days.
This assault against the working poor and the unemployed has increased to cruel proportions in recent years, with right-wingers adamant against even increasing the pathetic federal minimum wage, which most Americans do favor. Their rationale for their do-nothingness on that issue is that the government should not be in the business of helping people – just businesses.
Wouldn’t it be sweet justice, some fine day, if these mean-spirited grinches were all dis-elected from their do-nothing congressional jobs? And wouldn’t it be nice to see the worst of them standing in a soup line and begging for work, even for a job with a pathetic minimum wage? It’s called “bad karma.” And their day is coming.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.