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home : opinion : columns May 29, 2016

1/17/2014 1:17:00 PM
Unemployment cutoff a man-made disaster

Mikel Weisser
Congressional candidate

A group of Prescott activists met at the office of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., on Jan. 9 to plead for mercy for our fellow Americans. The GOP still delayed a bill to resume long-term unemployment benefits. 1.3 million workers had been without incomes for almost two weeks. In the dead of winter, during an especially cold winter. It is a man-made economic catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina. And "someone else's family going broke" isn't typically the kind of catastrophe GOP leadership cared about, so we were worried.

They were using the same old dodge: They weren't going to vote for anything that wasn't funded. As Rand Paul ranted, they certainly "weren't going to borrow money from China to pay people not to work." Something was going to have to be cut if they were to be expected to care the families of 1.3 million Americans.

The GOP say that unemployment benefits make people lazy, cause people to stay unemployed. At a time when there are three job seekers for every new job posted, that's easily debunked. People receiving unemployment had been employed, contributing to their own unemployment insurance, paying into the system, sometimes for decades, for times exactly like this. It typically takes 35 weeks for a person who loses their job to find an equitable replacement. The extended benefits would have lasted 36 weeks.

Who really benefits from unemployment benefits? Yes, the people who don't starve to death or live in the streets, they, of course, benefit, but more importantly, money in the hands of the poor and middle class goes right back into the stores where people shop, and on to the factories and farms that produce the goods and produce those people consume. With 1.3 million poor and middle class people, every extra dollar they have adds up through consumer spending.

The $26 billion or so the benefits are said to cost are about the same amount as the GOP cost the government with their recent shutdown. If they are OK with borrowing money to spite the president, why won't they borrow to save the lives of Americans?

No matter what purity the GOP wants to claim, when it comes to taxes and borrowing money, the government already borrows 40 percent of all it spends because of GOP resistance to taxes, which means that we still owe the money later anyway. Who are they helping with this anti-tax rhetoric? The public, at some point, will still have to pay for the debt through future taxes. So there are hundreds of billions of dollars worth of things the GOP is ready to borrow money on - but not our citizens.

Americans are supposed to care for each other. It is in fact the clear and stated purpose of the American government, according the very Constitution Congress is charged with upholding: to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare of all Americans, to raise sufficient taxes to do so when possible, to borrow when necessary.

Consciously choosing to extend their fellow Americans very real misery for their claim of abstract principles violates their oath to the Constitution. They haven't even gotten the preamble right and flunk at Article One. If they can't get that right, how can we trust them with the future? What kind of future are they after when they are so willing to starve the present?

Grover Norquist's dream of having a government so small it could be drowned in a bathtub means government that could not provide social services to the needy, security to the public, or infrastructure for the economy. With no education, social services, health care for the poor, or even fire or police protection for areas that could not afford privatized services, much of America will resemble a Third World country.

So yeah, we were begging for an extension of our fellow Americans' unemployment benefits, begging for our country, begging Paul Gosar to have a heart.

I wonder what he will say?

Mikel Weisser is a political writer and a Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Another Thought

"You always have to wonder why Republicans never get it that things have to be paid for. They seem to think the money trees all around DC are their personal checkbooks. .

Get rid of government waste, (Romney was a good start) dump entire departments such as Homeland Security which is worthless, strangle the Republican Party like they have strangled job growth with their corruption and infighting, get rid of every government employee who is not needed (GOP) but has simply sat on their behinds doing nothing for five years and wasting good breathable air around themselves etc... Then, talk one or two term limits. Instead select them as Ambassadors to third world countries, out of sight, out of mind,.

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Some states, counties might be republican dominated, some might be swing states as Arizona is from time to time, I thank god daily the republicans have no true majority of 50.1% of the electorate! Nationally they register 22% and my math might be meager high school level but 22% does not equate no where near to 50.1%!

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: For someone who wanted to work

My husband was out of work for over a year, he was 60 and a professional aviation mechanic. He couldn't even get a job paying minimum wage. He has worked since he was 15 years old, so whoever commented that people on unemployment are lazy and its free money, is really just full of themselves. Wake up and look around not all people are like that, some of us just want to live, work and eventually retire.

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking


Sorry, you will never see me vote for a commie like him. But I am sure that you and he share many beliefs. Be honest he has no more chance of ever winning an election then that Palmer character does.


Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: Trained Observer

I notice so many people here want to bash the EPA. You saw what happened in West VA with the water. If there was no EPA we would have more of these events. Many of the mining interests here in Mohave Co. are foreign owned. Do you think they have any interest in keeping your drinking water clean? No they don't. Did you miss the news about an oil spill in Arkansas? Do you know that the Exxon Valdez incident happened in 1989 and it still isn't cleaned up? Without the EPA you will have plenty of businesses that see nothing wrong with dumping chemicals in the desert (right into YOUR drinking water) etc. Read up on Stringfellow Acid Pits, Hinckley,CA or read about Erin Brockovitch. Wake up people.

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Herbert Hoover famously said when asked to do something to fix the high unemployment, suffering of his fellow citizens that his famous quote was "let the free market fix it"! Much as the right wing does today, to them free market fixes everything but reality is we do not always have a free market when billionaires can buy politicians, create monopolies, free market is sometimes a illusion! FDR did not win 4 consecutive elections, was beloved by majority of Americans due to he let his fellow citizens suffer, no he fixed it unlike the do nothing right wing who talk a good game but do nothing!

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: Some Will Vote The Way They Always Have, Others Will Cast Intelligent Votes

FLS, and you and your Republican voters have wasted your votes for years now. List the improvements brought about by the Republicans that have benefited the majority of people of this area.

To those not habitual about voting for anyone with an R next to their name, be methodical about how you vote. Listen to both candidates. Look at the track record and background of both candidates, Observe who the candidates listen to and hang with. Then vote for the person you believe will better the standard of living for ALL Americans.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"he believes is in the best interest for this county."

His belief on what is best for the country are more in line with Lenin's beliefs than with the founding fathers. Fortunately he will never win an election once he starts outlining his platform.

But hey, waste your vote however you like.


Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014
Article comment by: Why Not Try An Intelligent Representative for Once

Mikel is one smart, intelligent, hard-working man. He is fair and not afraid to stand up for what he believes is in the best interest for this county. Unfortunately, many will see a D next to his name and not even listen to him. This area would move ahead in just about every area if we had Mikel represent us.

I have to chuckle when I hear the Republicans yell about those lay-about unemployed living off their unemployment checks. First stop thinking these checks are making the unemployed lazy. Let's try some logical thinking (try to follow, Republicans). The maximum (MAXIMUM) unemployment is $240. Let's figure what that is compared to a minimum wage job paying $7.90 (Az's rate as of Jan 1). 40 x $7.90 = $316

Gee whiz, now how did that happen? You mean those collecting that whopping $240 would much prefer laying around worrying about paying the rent, grocery bill, car payment, etc instead of making $300 more a month (240x4=$960 vs 316x4=$1264).

Also why is it that Republicans always seem to have a brother, or cousin or neighbor who is taking advantage of the government programs. Is it perhaps that Republicans just love to take advantage of the government programs?

Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014
Article comment by: R H

He'd better be saying NO ....or else voters like ME (who put him there) will REMOVE him just as quickly. It's NOT free money. It was taken by force from taxpayers . Remember , this is not just 'unemployment insurance' , this is an EXTENSION that is not paid for by money deducted from our paychecks for that purpose. Yes , the job market is tough and not getting any easier (thanks to your ObamaCare , Mikel) but sitting on your butt for that long should inspire people to lower their standards . Even if you have to flip burgers , you had better get your butt out and work SOMEWHERE . The gravy train is running out of coal , fella .

Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"Why not, I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of people who could not use their tap water for a week would agree with that one."

And the EPA, with its HUGE budget, countless regulations, and inspectors, in no way prevented that chemical leak from occurring. Makes you wonder what purpose they actually serve. But hey, they did come in to test the water afterwards, something a private firm could have done as well and for less cost.


Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“You always have to wonder why libs never get it that things have to be paid for.”

You mean like the $24 billion Canada (aka Rafael) Ted flushed down the toilet? Or the trillions The Criminal has stuck us with for his wars based on lies?

”Get rid of government waste, dump entire departments such as Homeland Security which is worthless…”

Started by The Criminal and where was you ire at that time?

“…strangle the EPA…”

Why not, I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of people who could not use their tap water for a week would agree with that one.

“…get rid of every government employee who is not needed but was simply added on by obama to garner votes…”

Who are these people? Name them!

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: L J

While the repub. are defending there failures just a simple
look at the results of what there leadership has done for us
in this Congressional district and Mohave County.
5th. Poorest area in the Country, high unemployment,
high crime, drug abuse, high proverty, City of Kingman broke, on & on it goes. The GOP can say what they will, but they can't hide from the truth .

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Justa Citizen

Corporate Profit,
Is this the New York here in America you speak of?
The one that is chock full of liberal democrat politicians who are all big defenders of the poor and downtrodden?
The one that has been pretty much controlled by liberal democrats for years and just elected an insanely liberal democrat mayor for NYC and the state that has an insanely liberal democrat president.

Surely you jest, how could it be? A state virtually controlled by liberal democrats doing such a thing. I am absolutely appalled!!!

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"Lack of benefits foment crime and civil unrest."

And a member of the "Give us free stuff or else!" crowd chimes in.

"woe the 1%!"

Didn't the OWS clowns threaten they would take down the system, and the 1%? Whatever happened to them? lol

And I don't think people who work for a living and pay for the freeloaders benefits need to worry what crowd of discontented freeloaders threatens to do. Quit pretending it is just "1%" who are paying for your welfare check.

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

You always have to wonder why libs never get it that things have to be paid for. They seem to think there are money trees all around DC that provide an unending supply of same. No trees, we use China instead.

Was there something wrong with actually wanting to find a way to pay for extended unemployment benefits ie: doing it the right way? God forbid, we pay for something ahead of time by finding a feasible way to do so.

Get rid of government waste, dump entire departments such as Homeland Security which is worthless, strangle the EPA like they have strangled business growth with their unbelievable, incredible regulations, get rid of every government employee who is not needed but was simply added on by obama to garner votes, etc.

Then, talk long term unemployment benefits. But wait, worthless EPA regs gone alone would probably create millions of new jobs.

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Corporate Profit In Others' Misery

This last week, I saw a tv 'documentary'? about how NY politicians planned to demolish entire middle and low class Brooklyn neighborhoods, giving only 30 day eviction notices to residents and mom & pop stores, to have new upscale buildings and big-box stores to replace them. Big-monied real estate developers were privy to the zone changing that was being made. They purchased the real estate in the neighborhoods. The developers made money hand-over-fist when they sold these re-zoned developments at much higher prices thanfor which they bought them. These lucrative developments received huge government tax incentives lasting maybe as long as 20 years, resulting in very low or no tax responsibility. The displaced residents' appeal to NYC's commission apparently fell on deaf ears. This commission was not accountable for it's decisions, and was comprised by many of the same people who profit by the real estate take-over. One of the displaced people supporters poignantly asked something like 'They say that we receive welfare, yet they receive tax incentives. What's the difference? Now which is it, are we both receiving tax incentives, or are we both receiving welfare?'..
At least, this is my understanding of what I saw.

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH

"and the touchy feely liberals crawl out from under the rocks to grab more taxpayer money."
Like I keep telling you capt., get your yard cleaned up first. There are plenty of regressive, untouchy, unfeely tea party types dipping their mitts into the government handout trough. Look at the big corporation. Prove me wrong!

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

"Gosar voted for the gov't shutdown which hurt millions of people & there family 's"

You can always spot a liberal who has no idea what they're talking about.

There was never a vote to shut down the government. There was a lack of agreement on spending which caused the deadline to go by without a new continuing resolution passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the my -way -or -the -highway president.

Millions of families were not hurt . Government handouts like food stamps and welfare were still sent out.

Mr. My- Way-Or-The- Highway made sure to inconvience people by shutting down national parks and other points of interest which may or may not have been federally funded, while still holding lavish get togethers at the White House. While it was purely spiteful on the president's part, the effect on "millions of families" cannot be described as "hurt". In fact, overall, life went on as usual for most Americans, which speaks to the lack of necessity of much of our over grown government.

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

Hmmm... upon reading the comments, it seems like the same old political comments... "Motherhood and apple pie" versus "What evil lurks in the hearts of men"? Personally, I've always liked apple pie! To continue in my homily, let me suggest that even in Mohave county that eventually, "the worm will turn"!

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: Joseph Kerr

Paul Gosar is under the influence of energy and mining companies such as Peabody Energy, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Pinnacle West Capital, as long as these entities donate money to his campaign committee, he will continue to support bills that would give them huge tax breaks and tax credits.For example, by investing just $1.8 million over two years in payments for Washington lobbyists, Whirlpool secured the renewal of lucrative energy tax credits for making high-efficiency appliances that it estimated was worth to be a combined $120 million for 2012 and 2013. Such breaks have helped the company keep its total tax expenses below zero in recent years.The federal government spends over 120 billion dollars using tax payer money on corporate welfare. Many right-wing Republicans support cutting anti-poverty programs, but they ignore corporate welfare because if they target cutting corporate welfare spending many of them would cut off donations to their campaign committees.

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: Andrew Gross

Lack of benefits foment crime and civil unrest. woe the 1%!

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

1 job for every 3 applicants, takes no math genius to know the unemployed cannot find work if the available jobs are below the number looking! And this myth of the majority of American unemployed lazy, shiftless is like the right wing myth of the lazy poor who want to be poor! I think when Jesus does start sorting them sheep/sheeple from the goats the goats do have a awe and shock coming!

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: H Q

Gosar voted for the gov't shutdown which hurt millions of people & there family 's as well as our economy . He's aganist funding unemployment again hurts millions . Who does this man represent if not the interest of the people who hired him.
He was sent to congress to do the people's business which was the least productive lowest rating congress ever !
Gosar for Congress I don't think so.

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

And the touchy feely liberals crawl out from under their rocks to grab more taxpayers money because they are too lazy to work for it.
I think the thing for these so called activists is to petition our touchy feely president and con him into printing more money as that is the only place left as the taxpayers are tapped out!
I never drew one cent of unemployment, as I figured getting a job was better than begging.
I know there are people out there that probably can use some help but not for life.
I say get a job, but that is easy to say when these people usually are too good to wash dishes or clean floors as I once did, they want CEO money with a beer mentality!

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