Our forefathers, in their infinite wisdom, put the words “promote the general Welfare” (they capitalized the “W” in Welfare, not me) into the Preamble to the Constitution which bears the force of law, and good citizens obey the law! At the time, they were not saddled with our notions of today’s public assistance programs that are commonly referred to as welfare. They just wanted us to work together as citizens of this great nation to create a union in which we did everything possible to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Unemployment is not a source for health, prosperity, or happiness for the greatest number. It is merely a lifeline for survival for most that walk its streets. Unemployment is an INSURANCE policy that is kept in force through payments made while gainfully employed. It is NOT welfare, but it is a step towards “promoting the general Welfare.”
Webster’s defines “welfare” as: the state of being or doing well; the condition of health, prosperity, and happiness. Webster’s follows with the following definition of “welfare state”: a state in which the welfare of its citizens, with regard to employment, medical care, social security, etc, is considered to be the responsibility of the government. How often do we forget these very distinct differences when we are busy bandying about the welfare word. How often we forget that unemployment is insurance: not welfare. If your medical insurer refused to pay your medical claim just because you became ill, you would be livid. Accepting the fact that unemployment is “insurance” designed to provide a small level of “Welfare” to our people at sustenance levels, and not some “welfare” program, this will set you free on this issue. You will know why it needs to be done.
To give up providing additional support to 15 million+ unemployed when we have not successfully created a sufficient number of jobs for them to fill is insanity. It’s not logical. It defies explanation. For those that argue that we should be willing to take minimum wage jobs, I counter with show me the 15 Million+ minimum wage jobs and you’ve got a deal. But you can’t, so get off your high horse. The 15 million+ unemployed are looking for jobs, not more political rhetoric! They are looking for more jobs to be created, not more unemployment. They will gratefully accept more unemployment payments in the meantime in the form of “Welfare,” if they must, while they wait for hope. Hope that we can turn this economy around; that they can get back to work, pay their fair share again, and look further into the future than where the next rent payment or meal will come from. It’s been a very long time since they’ve even thought about saving a dollar, buying a stock, or saving for retirement. If you don’t think they would gratefully accept your job if you were to chose to quit it, you are sorely mistaken!
The impact of not extending unemployment is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Do you honestly think for a minute that my landlord is going to be in better shape if he has to expend the extra time, energy, and costs associated with evicting me because I can no longer pay the rent? No rent from me = no income for him, and this impact is immediate! Do you think that there is a long list of people lined up to rent my place when 3 out of 8 apartments are already vacant in my building alone? Does my landlord desire that it become 4 out of 8? NO he doesn’t! Will the electric company be in better shape because I no longer need their electricity because I’m homeless? I suggest those still working buy stock in Coleman lanterns and propane fuel, because without an extension, that’s what we’ll be using next in tent city. Come on people, extrapolate the effects out.
This is where trickle-down economics actually works. It never works when the rich get richer because they just hoard the money. The evidence of this is corporations having the highest levels of cash reserves EVER while producing almost no new jobs. Those on unemployment are true consumers spending every penny fueling the economy. We do it on mortgage payments or rent. On utilities, On car insurance. On gas & oil. On license plates. On food. On medicines. On toilet paper, yes, tons and tons of toilet paper! What do you think is going to happen to “your” precious job after we are thrown under the bus and all of this cash dries up in the economy, instant nirvana? You think that pay freeze or 10% pay cut you had to take was bad? You will soon be following in our footsteps as the entire economy unravels with the next round of layoffs as companies cut and slash some more to maintain profitability. More companies will go under. More homes will be foreclosed on. 1+1 will always equal 2. The only one making a buck will be the repo man.
Three years ago my home was valued at $226,000. After my foreclosure, my house sold for $86,000. Do you think my old next door neighbors are now dancing in the streets because I’m finally out of the neighborhood, or licking their wounds because they have seen their equity positions in their home plummet? Do you think the local tax assessor was happy because they can now collect significantly LESS property taxes on the home do to the significant drop in assessed value? Do you think the community as a whole is better off because they now have less money to provide city services with? Is the community now safer since they had to layoff police and move to a volunteer fire department due to the fact that I WASN”T THE ONLY ONE TO HAVE THIS HAPPEN! Millions have been swept away by this rising tide. Do you really need to kick us while we’re down, or is a helping hand a more appropriate response? Buddy, can you spare a job?
Obviously, I am advocating passing the unemployment extension without delay. If we don’t, then I hope you enjoy your 26 weeks of unemployment when it’s your turn in the barrel because obviously no one is in the mood to give unemployment extensions anymore. This process has already taken way too long and been way too contentious to establish any whimper of national unity. So. Don’t do it for us. Do it to fulfill your sense of obligation as an American citizen trying to help “promote the general Welfare”. Do it because you feel like you were forced into it. Do it to protect your own selfish interests. Just do it! Or don’t, we’ll keep a light on for you at tent city.