Last night’s vote in the Senate certainly proves that neither political party has the guts to do the right thing, moreover the fortitude to publicly acknowledge a painful reality.  

A bill being debated for the past week in the Senate appears, at first glance, to be a charitable act in a time of economic crisis for so many unemployed Americans and concocts a facade of “lowering the deficit.”   However, the bill does not include provisions that would off-set the $10 Billion price tag.   

The irony in this situation is no less than Shakespearean.  After vowing to the American people during his first State of the Union address that out-of-control spending would stop, President Obama last week signed into law an act that calls for future legislation to show how a said bill would be funded.  However, this week, Obama and his Dynamic Democratic Duo of Pelosi and Reid reversed his promise (a shocker to most of you I know) and is prepared to sign into law this “$10 Billion extension bill” which has NO provisions for funding.  NONE, NADA, ZILCH, ZIP.  [Can you hear the Chinese laughing?]  

The bill, which was already passed by the House with a unanimous vote,  extends unemployment insurance benefits and COBRA health insurance subsidies for 30 days until a new, longer extension is scheduled to kick in.  Additionally, the bill extends federal subsidies to states for transportation projects (isn’t this already supposed to be happening with the “Stimulus Money?”), and thwarts a 21% planned cut in Medicare payments to doctors.   

"Show Me The Money!"

 

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has led a filibuster of this bill in hopes that fiscal conservatives in both parties would recognize the hypocrisy in passing such legislation.   

He asked for this bill to include details of how it is to be funded.  A simple request, no?  In line with the President’s promise.  His efforts have failed and have not resonated with politicians or much of the public.  What Bunning was willing to lay on the line are the following painful facts:   

  • The United States cannot afford ANY additional debt, even a measly $10 Billion.
  • While extending unemployment insurance benefits provides a quick fix for some, it only perpetuates the inevitable which is unpaid-unemployed workers.
  • This expenditure will NOT create (or save) jobs, but will prolong a weak economy and a weakening workforce.   Workers who have been searching for months for jobs will feel a bit of reprieve but will not be motivated to new ideas in their searches for jobs or thoughts of finding new sources of income, such as a new trade.
  • And worst of all – the American public is, once again, saved by Uncle Sam – perpetuating the “nanny state.” 

In an economic situation like ours, the American people need to understand their responsibility in this crisis.  We must not wait for someone to provide for us, we must learn to provide for ourselves.  

Yes, this sounds harsh and cold, possibly “out of touch” to parents with children to feed, or to people with a debt load crashing in on them.  Yet, we cannot sit back and allow our country to become a nation of helpless, hopeless people with no original thought, no ingenuity, no pioneer spirit.  If we do, we have only to look at the remnants of the U.S.S.R. after it’s fall…a land of mindless souls who had no idea how to survive through their own abilities and tenacity.  

Senator Bunning had the courage to attempt to awaken the American people from their malaise by using this issue that hits the pockets of everyman.  Perhaps his boldness comes from the fact that he is retiring after this term; perhaps he is just disgusted with politics trumping common sense.   

With 21 Republican colleagues voting with the Democrats to pass the motion, it appears that mid-term elections are the true impetus for this $10 Billion vote.  

xxx

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