Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Get Back to Work - While You Can
Get Back to Work – While You Can
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 21, 2011
It’s an ugly irony.
While millions of Americans are out of work, the two houses of Congress are engaging in a childish game of chicken to see who will blink first on the payroll tax cut.
The irony is that these 535 men and women have jobs – and darned good paying ones at that – but won’t do them. In a self-congratulatory moment of Congressional fist-bumping or high-fiving (depending upon your generation) the Senate deigned to show up on Saturday, December 17 to cast an important vote regarding the extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance an approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
In a bipartisan Christmas miracle the Senate voted 89-10 (Rand Paul [R-KY] not voting) in favor of the aforementioned bill. They then adjourned for the Chanukah, Christmas, New Years’ break – fleeing Washington, DC and scurrying to the four corners of the US like cockroaches when the lights are turned on.
But while the Senate turned off their lights, the House still had to cast its votes on the Senate bill before sending it to Mr. Obama for his seal of approval – or veto – as he threatened should a bill include the job creating pipeline project.
The problem is, the Democrat-controlled Senate assumed their version of the bill was a winner. Well, we all know what happens when one assumes. The Senate bill granted relief for a mere two months. In its coward-like manner, the Senate kicked the can down the road, as is the oft-used phrase on The Hill, to fight this fight another day.
Meanwhile, the GOP-led House rejected the Senate version on Tuesday, December 20 by a vote of 229-193 with 13 members not casting a ballot. The House favors a full year extension instead of the two months approved by the Senate.
With the Senate chamber dark, nothing will be accomplished until after the calendar strikes 2012 and roughly 160 million Americans see their tax bill rise an average of $1,000 or $40 per pay period on a $50,000 annual income. Additionally, nearly two million unemployed people would lose benefits of roughly $300 per week.
This kind of half-assed effort extolls little in the form of confidence by the business community with nary a reason to begin hiring again. A two month extension probably costs more in paperwork than it’s worth to the people.
The Senate needs to support a bill with more guts in it than those who vote on it. Both parties need to stop playing politics with the lives of the people they purport to represent. We the people sent you there and we the people can summarily boot you to the curb. Do your jobs before the voters find others who will and you can join the ranks of the unemployed come January 2013.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.