Friday, July 02, 2010
JOBLESSNESS, FILIBUSTERS & RENT
By Ivan G. Goldman
It’s unlikely any of those Republican senators who this week mounted a successful filibuster against jobless benefits thought about it, but they cut off funding just in time to make over a million families miss their mortgages, rent, and car payments for the month of July.
The senators then went home to enjoy another one of their two-week congressional holidays. Incidentally, you’d think someone would start to ask questions about how anyone gets away with taking off two weeks for Independence Day – a holiday whose one-day duration is stated right in its title. This is like quitting your work station for the weekend so you can go on a fifteen-minute coffee break.
It’s impossible to know how many families will go homeless because of the cavalier attitude of senators who make $174,000 a year plus almost unimaginable perks that include using proceeds from their legalized extortion rackets to “hire” family members at six-figure salaries. Just about every one of the fast-buck artists in the Senate who refused help to laid-off workers are the same legislators who killed a proposal to make big banks pay insurance fees against their own failure.
These are incredible back-to-back actions – working in behalf of the bankers who wrecked the world economy and then voting to withhold help from families impoverished by the bankers’ criminal incompetence. You’d think the constituents of some of these senators would catch on, but con men like Saxby Chambliss of Georgia take it for granted that they can get away with murder, and they do. All they have to do is lie about it. Sure, the mass media will also report what the liars’ adversaries say about an issue, but the two sides will be presented as though they’re both valid arguments even in instances when two minutes of Google research would expose the unassailable truth.
Besides which, millions of Americans get their news from Fox and other media that don’t even bother to report the true side of an argument.
Chambliss, Orrin Hatch, etc. claimed, for example, that we would all suffer terribly if we were to alter the worst health care system in the civilized world, and the media presented that side of the argument as an equally thoughtful viewpoint to counterbalance the force of reason.
Senators who cut estate taxes for the super-rich and fund Star Wars and all sorts of other corporate scams only notice the deficit when someone proposes a budget item that might actually do some good. But news stories don’t put two and two together.
As we celebrate a day that commemorates a revolution against tyranny, perhaps we can spend a moment or two thinking about all the Americans who this month will lose their battle to pay the rent.
My recent novel Exit Blue (Black Heron; 2010) is available at Amazon and elsewhere.