House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently said that government just can't keep its promises
to Americans. In that case he was talking Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now he's including extending unemployment compensation in the promises he wants to break, on the grounds that extending the insurance program
is "pumping up" the jobless.
In response to today’s jobs report, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) declared that “unemployment is far too high” and that Congress “must push pro-growth policies to get back on track.” Noting Cantor’s apparent concern as “spot on,”, CNBC host Jim Kramer told Cantor that obviously, “you’re for extending unemployment benefits given the chaotic situation.” Cantor’s response? Nope, because “for too long in Washington now we’ve been worried about pumping up the stimulus moneys and pumping up unemployment benefits”.
Cantor declared that “the most important thing we can do for somebody who’s unemployed is to see if we can get them a job” and declared that the only way unemployment benefits could be extended is if “we find commensurate cuts somewhere else”:
CANTOR: Jim, the most important thing we can do for somebody who’s unemployed is to see if we can get them a job. I mean, that’s what needs to be the focus. For too long in Washington now we’ve been worried about pumping up the stimulus moneys and pumping up unemployment benefits and to a certain extent you have states for which you can get unemployment for almost two years and I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job. So that’s where our focus needs to be.
KRAMER: I just want to be very, very clear, on a day when we have a good unemployment number, that’s terrific, but not a great one and you confirmed not a great one, you are not in favor and will go against the president’s wishes to extend those unemployment benefits?
CANTOR: What I have said all along, Jim, is if we’re going to spend money in Washington, we better start to make choices and we’ve got to set priorities. If we’re going to spend money, we better cut it somewhere else.
In other words, they're retaking the long-term unemployed hostage. The last time they did it, they got a great deal in return: the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Who knows what ransom they'll demand this time around, because this situation is becoming critical. As Meteor Blades writes, "unless Congress acts to extend unemployment benefits, some 3.71 million more Americans are going to lose them during the next five months."
In the meantime, I recommend all unemployed people send their resume and a request for a job interview to Rep. Cantor, since he says the most important thing he, as part of government, can do is to get unemployed people jobs. Maybe he'll share his bootstraps with the rest of us.