The latest from our series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless, a letter from one of the 2 million not receiving federal unemployment insurance since Congress dropped the benefits in December:
"I lost my job last summer and my benefits stopped three months ago. I am a 57 year old widow and the sole support of myself. I have lost my home. My car will be taken in 2 weeks. My credit has been ruined because I can't pay my bills. I am overdrawn at my bank due to bank fees and I have zero income and no money to buy food. I applied for state aid but have heard nothing. I had to stop taking my much needed daily medication because I don't have money to buy my medicine."
And how does the GOP react? By treating these men and women as bargaining chips for Republican interests:
While temporarily extending unemployment benefits is necessary for those most in need, we must not lose sight of the real goal — getting Americans back to work. Specifically, the GROWTH Act would approve construction of the long awaited Keystone XL pipeline, creating 42,100 direct and indirect jobs. It repeals the president’s job-destroying medical device tax, saving as many as 43,000 manufacturing jobs. The bill will also codify into law the 40-hour work week rather than the 30-hour figure in the president’s health care law, which, if not changed, will result in slashed hours and reduced wages.
This is both a responsible and conservative solution, which highlights the need for policies to spur real economic recovery while assisting families who are struggling through difficult times.
When Politifact looked at job creation claims, they came up with a different number than Reps. Dent and Meadows: they came up with 3,900 jobs for one year, or 1,950 each year for two years, plus 35 permanent jobs after construction.
When The Motley Fool looked at Obamacare enrollment numbers and the medical device tax, this is what they said: (my emphasis)
"Given the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of Obamacare most hospitals have held back on making large equipment purchases. This extra cash flow generated by a lower rate of uninsured patients could be the perfect impetus for hospital operators to differentiate themselves from competitors with state-of-the-art equipment. In other words, while all medical device makers could ultimately benefit, those which make high-priced and specialized equipment could become the most direct beneficiaries."
And as far as the 30- or 40-hour work week rule, that's a lot of GOP smoke and mirrors. The ACA requires companies with 50 or more full-time employees to provide healthcare coverage for them. Workers who put in a 30-hour week are counted as full-time workers for the purpose of the law. If the GOP had their way, and redefined the rule to 40 hours, fewer employees might be counted, and fewer companies would have to provide insurance coverage.
It's normal and reasonable to bargain in politics: you need a bridge; I need a road widened - let's do a deal.
It's abnormal, unreasonable and utterly unconscionable for the GOP to hold millions of desperate American men and women hostage to oil companies and business interests.