Savings almost depleted, might last through the winter. 59-year-old
male, unemployed, wife, disabled with no benefits. 99er! Please vote
for unemployment extension in lame duck session. I see no help coming
-- Letter to U.S. Rep. Dave Camp from a resident of Empire
Last week, Congressman Dave Camp basically told the letter writer
above to go to hell when he voted against the emergency extension of
long-term unemployment benefits. A 99er is a person who has
exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment.
Camp himself doesnt have any unemployment worries. As a congressman
who represents the Grand Traverse area as part of the 4th District, he
receives a salary of $174,000 per year and has a job for life, thanks
to the ridiculously convoluted district that was gerrymandered years
ago by the Republican Party to insure that hell never have a serious
Yet Camp also represents a region that has one of the highest
unemployment rates in the country: more than 12%.
But did Camp man-up in support of his suffering constituents when
there was a vote along party lines on Nov. 18 to provide emergency
funding for those whose unemployment benefits are expiring on Nov. 30?
Of course not.
He joined 142 Republicans -- including Rep. Pete Hoekstra who
represents Manistee -- in voting to cut emergency benefits for 800,000
workers, with up to 2 million workers losing their benefits by the end
Nice gesture at Christmas.
But thats not where the story ends, because if you read between the
lines of his press releases, Camp seems to spend much of his time
worrying about continuing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, playing the
sad violin on their behalf.
Hes a regular Reverse Robin Hood.
The White House would like to end the Bush tax cuts which expire at
the end of 2010 for those earning more than $250,000/year, while
granting the middle class a permanent tax cut.
President Obama notes that if we continue to provide tax cuts for
millionaires and billionaires in the top 2% of income, our country
will have to borrow $700 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the
Camp, who is set to become the next Chairman of Ways and Means (the
committee on taxes), never seems to be able to parse out the
difference between the rich and the middle class in his news releases.
The average CEO at an S&P 500 company makes $9.5 million per year.
Yet, invariably, Camp characterizes every high-roller as a “small
business owner“ who will simply refuse to create jobs if the taxes he
paid in 2001 are reinstated.
To Camp and his Republican colleagues, failure to include their rich
friends when the tax cuts expire next month is interpreted as a $3.8
trillion tax hike. He seems to be unable to remove the super rich
from his equations. This, when the richest 1% of Americans own 24% of
the nations income.
Republicans claim that rich folks on par with Donald Trump and Bill
Gates need a tax cut to generate jobs. Many studies have debunked
this claim: the rich tend to put their windfalls in the Wall Street
casino instead of creating new jobs.
Did you know that the least number of jobs created under the last
eight presidents came under George W. Bush, who floated this theory of
tax cuts for the rich creating jobs? Only 1.1 million jobs were
created under Bush and his tax cuts, compared to 22.7 million jobs
under Bill Clinton, according to the Huffington Post.
Bottom line, Camp is willing to deny $12 billion in unemployment
benefits for Americans who are hurting so as not to put our country
further in debt, while championing the cause of borrowing $700 billion
to benefit the richest 2% in our country.
Hows that for standing up for your principles?
This isnt to say that Camp has no sense of compassion: he might not
care all that much about the unemployed man with the sick wife out in
Empire whos worried about finding enough to eat this winter; but hes
got plenty of room in his heart for billionaires who are in danger of
facing the new year without a tax cut.