‘Going Back on the Deal’

An op-ed published in the New York Times this week reveals GOP attempts to double-cross American voters – particularly, the unemployed.

“Last year, Republicans refused to renew unemployment benefits unless the high-end Bush-era tax cuts were preserved,” reads the article. “After the White House agreed to keep the tax cuts through 2012, they agreed to extend federal jobless benefits through 2011. Now, they want to renege.”

The editorial cites a bill, recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, giving states permission to use federal unemployment benefit funds for other purposes, including tax cuts for businesses.

“This is a very bad idea at a time when the national jobless rate is 9 percent, and higher than that in 22 states,” reads the editorial. “The $31 billion in yet to be paid federal benefits is desperately needed.

“Republicans, however, aren’t looking to restore the funds to long-term solvency; they want to cut taxes no matter what the cost. And their business constituents — who have resisted paying unemployment taxes in good times as well as bad — don’t want to pay more taxes into the system, even after the economy has recovered. There are better ways to help the states and bolster business during tough times. Reducing unemployment benefits is the wrong choice.”

The House bill would also require an unemployed person have at least a high school diploma or GED in order to receive benefits. The bill now heads to the House floor for a full vote.