Editorial: The Congressional Grinch who stole Christmas

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

Unless Congress extends emergency rules that would allow the unemployed to extend their benefits 99 weeks, 2 million Americans will lose those benefits by the end of this month. Merry Christmas.

At this critical point in this nation’s recovery, letting millions lose benefits will undermine those efforts. Republicans have argued that those benefits should only be extended if Congress finds other cuts to compensate for the estimated $50 billion price tag of a year-long extension of long-term benefits.

Unemployment insurance is not a handout. It is not a substitute for a job. Millions of people who have never had to use this before are now utilizing it — many are not proud of it, and would rather collect a paycheck, even a measly one, than have to swallow their pride and use unemployment.

Unemployment is still very, very high. Too high. If you believe finding a job is easy, ask anyone who has had to look for one — even recent college grads. Competition is fierce; openings are scarce; choices are slim. Don’t judge those who are still looking, to no avail. Some people have their resumes out to every place that will take one. It’s not easy. The economy’s in a sad state when many people are too overqualified to find work.

If you can recall the recent election, Americans have made it clear they want change — again.

Lawmakers aren’t getting it done, and until they do, punishing millions for the biggest job of all left unfinished — the economy — is one big lump of coal in America’s stocking.