cross-posted from Working America's 'Main Street' blog where I am a featured guest blogger
Back last Spring it became increasingly apparent that one intention of the Republican-led obstruction of any and all measures designed to boost the economy and help working people was to thwart the recovery -- and blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats.
Well, they've certainly thrown sand in the gears of any nascent recovery -- one reason we're still stuck with debilitating unemployment, a massive foreclosure debacle and a private sector that remains in a virtual hiring gridlock.
So, as we set out to our polling places to vote Nov. 2, it's useful to recall just what's been going on the past several months in particular, starting, of course, with the infamous obstruction of unemployment benefits last February by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY). Those antics were repeated the following month by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), setting up another short-term emergency stop-gap measure that finally extended the unemployment programs through May.
That's when the Senate Republican leadership joined the full-scale obstruction effort, putting the nation and the economy at a dangerous crossroads. Having successfully pressured a small number of House Democrats to join the effort to cut out core components of a job-creation and unemployment insurance extension measure, the Republicans set their sights on imposing sado-economic austerity.
In the process, they succeeded in stalling another unemployment extension -- having already eliminated the federal COBRA health insurance subsidy and the extra $25 a week for the unemployed. This while preserving tax breaks for hedge fund managers and overseas investment schemes, as well as subsidies for their Big Oil buddies.
The result of that summer obstruction -- a two-month battle just to pass another continuation of emergency unemployment benefits, something that, in the past, both parties had always done when unemployment was elevated -- was a seven-week lapse in benefits for long-term unemployed workers. 2.5 million went without benefits during that lapse.
The economy suffered. Millions of working people, small businesses, unemployed workers and their families -- all suffered. And the obstructionists laughed smugly amongst themselves, knowing that the continued economic hardship could be used for their own political gain.
Obstruct, delay, cut or defeat any attempts to improve the economic conditions of working families. That was -- and is -- their goal. For cynical political gain. As a result, they've torpedoed jobs, torpedoed the recovery for working people.
On my way to the polls, I'll have one thing in mind: Damn the Torpedoers.