Memo To Congress: 74% Think UI+COBRA More Important Than Deficit Reduction

There's a basic economic reality that escapes politicians in election years: It takes money in consumers' hands to buy things which then creates demand for more things to be made which then creates jobs which put money in the pockets of consumers which they use to buy things.

In other words, if people don't have money, they won't spend money. Seems simple enough.

But it's an election year, which means the deficit hawks have swooped down upon our politicians and stolen their brains (and, evidently, their ability to read).

Huffington Post reports on a recent survey conducted by the National Unemployment Law Project. The results aren't a huge surprise: 74% of respondents believe extensions to unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidies take priority over deficit reduction.

Three-quarters of registered voters think Congress should forget about the deficit and preserve extended unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for laid-off workers, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Employment Law Project.

Citing deficit concerns, Democrats in both chambers of Congress have said it's time to start thinking about how to wrap up the extended unemployment benefits put in place to fight the recession. But 74 percent of people surveyed said they agreed with the statement that "it is too early to start cutting back benefits and health coverage for workers who lost their jobs."

Let's think through what happens when those '99ers' don't have their unemployment check. Do they rush right out to the local McDonald's and get a counter job? Well, no. Not that they wouldn't if they could, but because they are unlikely to be hired, particularly if their experience is in a different area or they are over age 50. Depending on their skills, self-employment might be an option, but only if they have the means to live while building an income stream.

And then there's the COBRA subsidy, which should be extended for the unemployed until the subsidies available to insureds under health care reform kick in. Losing that will simply cause more medical bankruptcies, more deaths, and more poverty.

This is not the time for Congress to kick the floor out from under the unemployed. We neither asked for, nor did we invite being laid off, downsized, or merged out of existence. We are not lazy, bloodsucking maggots intent on undermining the American way of life. We are real people with real children and real concerns who also happen to vote.

That voting thing is going to be really important in November. Don't be fooled by the press meme about incumbent hate. Incumbents who stand up for the people will be re-elected. Those who don't, won't.

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