Desperation, Armed Guards in Unemployment Offices

December 1, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)—While Republicans play political games and hold the senate hostage to make sure their wealthy supporters get a tax cut they don’t need, millions of long-term unemployed Americans will lose their benefits in December, as the holidays approach. The paltry federal unemployment checks barely kept a roof over the heads and food on the table for millions of families, keeping them from homelessness. But now that’s gone. And the only thing left is desperation, hunger and hopelessness. The fear and the desperation came to a head this week at a Louisville, Kentucky unemployment office that resulted in the ejection of some unruly applicants by security guards. And in Indiana, armed guards have been put in place at all of state’s unemployment offices, to handle potential violence. It’s getting ugly out there.

The Huffington Post writes:

“Local CBS affiliate WLKY captured a bit of the scene on Monday — amid some commotion, a man can be heard saying in a raised voice, “What did you just say to me?”

WLKY reported that “at least two people were escorted out” of the office. With the threat of benefits expiring for 100,000 Kentuckians, WLKY reported, “tempers are flaring.”

“It’s the type of scene that contributed to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s decision to add armed guards to each of its 36 field offices where workers can file unemployment claims (previously only some of the offices had armed security).”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) might want to bypass his state’s unemployment offices this Christmas. Earlier in the year, McConnell took to the senate floor to declare that the rich have been hit the hardest by this recession.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that the Congressional refusal to provide extended federal benefits during a time of near double-digit unemployment is unprecedented in our country.

“Congress has enacted a temporary program to provide additional weeks of federally funded UI benefits in every major recession since the 1950s, and has always continued providing those benefits until the economy was back on track and job prospects were improving. Today, the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, job opportunities are scarce, and forecasters see little improvement over the coming year. In weak economies over the past six decades, the highest unemployment rate at which federal unemployment benefits have been cut off was 7.2 percent — nearly two-and-a-half percentage points lower than it is today.”

Yet here we are in the 21st century, with Republican disdain for the poor at an all time high, as the majority of the wealth in the U.S. becomes so top heavy, we mirror the wealth distribution seen in Third World countries.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers say we can’t afford to extend unemployment benefits, while they insist on adding $700 billion to the deficit to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

This Christmas, many families will be forced to wait in line at food pantries to put food on the table. While Republican lawmakers will dine in style, content in the knowedge that their millionare Wall Street friends get to keep more of their money.

Photo Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum


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