This news piece is a little dated, but I finally got around to finishing up all the loose ends to this, so here you go. In case you didn't hear, we extended the Bush tax cuts and decided that cutting unemployment benefits was somehow a good thing...
Washington (CNN) -- Senate Republicans promised Wednesday to block legislative action on every issue being considered by the lame-duck Congress until the dispute over extending the Bush-era tax cuts is resolved and an extension of current government funding is approved.
All 42 Senate Republicans signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, vowing to prevent a vote on "any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers."
"With little time left in this congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike," the letter said.
The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted by former President George W. Bush will expire after December 31 if Congress fails to reach an agreement on their extension. Top Democrats and Republicans disagree sharply over whether the current tax rates should be extended just for families earning $250,000 or under per year or for everyone regardless of income.
Republicans contend that a failure to extend all of the tax cuts would hamper an already-sluggish economy. President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders argue that the roughly $700 billion price tag attached to an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would be fiscally irresponsible.
White House and congressional tax negotiators began deliberations Wednesday morning. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner characterized the initial talks as "very civil" and said that while everything was discussed, there were no surprises.
House Democrats, meanwhile, announced their intention to move forward with a vote Thursday to permanently extend the breaks only for families earning $250,000 or less.
On the spending side, a continuing resolution responsible for funding the government is scheduled to expire Friday.
Democrats are trying to pass several pieces of legislation before a more Republican Congress is sworn in in January, including the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, and the so-called DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants.
Reid blasted the GOP letter on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, calling it part of a "cynical" and transparent" Republican strategy to "obstruct" and "delay" legislative progress while blaming the Democrats for failing to effectively govern.
"Last month, the American people issued their verdict on the Democrat's priorities," replied Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. "We need to show the American people that we care more about them and their ability to pay their bills than we do about the special interests' legislative Christmas-list."
Top Democrats and Republicans disagree sharply over whether the current tax rates should be extended just for families earning $250,000 or under per year or for everyone regardless of income.
Then again, they were probably designed to be permanent but engineered to bite the ass of the democratic president that followed Bush. So good job, I guess.
It's pretty impressive stuff here. That the republicans could potentially cut off 2 million people off unemployment, then the temporary retail hires from the Christmas consumerist season all get shitcanned, then there's going to be a massive economic catastrophe happening almost simultaneously with the republican congress taking control. That's like, what, at least 2% of the individual income of the country being destroyed over a month?
My goodness. I can't even get excited about this anymore. Life is no fun when the worst things always happen, we need some variety to keep it up, know what I'm saying? You know the situation is pretty desperate when you have a guy that thinks the soviet union would have ever launched a first strike is railing about CEOs.
Then again, I think we're past desperate at this point. But hey, just look at what Michigan is up to.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan says it will stop taking new extended unemployment benefit applications after Saturday because Congress has failed to renew the program.My goodness, the tax breaks let people keep more of what they've earned, unemployment benefits lets people collect money that they haven't earned.
The state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth says about 162,000 Michiganians exhausted their jobless benefits from January through November and about 181,500 will exhaust their unemployment benefits from this December through April 2011, barring an extension by Congress.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm wrote congressional leaders last week, asking for extension of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Stephen Geskey says the state's own unemployment benefit program will continue to provide up to 26 weeks of benefits for the newly jobless.
I, however, do not care about tax cuts because they ain't spending. 250k isn't even that much, I seriously mean that, why should that be the threshold? I mean, 500 sounds more reasonable. It's not like 250k income is 5 times higher than the median household income in the country or anything.
I know people who just got rejected for an entry-level job after two rounds of interviews, three rounds of testing/assessment, and two six-hour sessions of unpaid training; for failing the credit check....
The twist in all that? They were interviewing for their old job back - and at a 22% pay cut. Even more so, they asked if he could pass out some flyers to his friends, as they were hiring a lot of people this season...
Yeah, I have to say that it's been pretty entertaining watching all the news outlets finally lose every last bit of hope from 2008. The sooner we lose all hope, the sooner we can try to rebuild. It makes you really wish you would have taken that job with the CIA. You know, so you could just get paid for flying heroin all over south east Asia.
It's pretty simple folks, Tax cuts generate government revenue, tax increases decrease it. That's basic college education, right?
The thing you should really come to realize is that unemployment payments are keeping, like, 800,000 people employed. If we end a lot of those then you can kiss that off, I guess. Just go back to the tax cuts and hope that rich people hire poor people despite not needing any extra capacity because demand is plummeting as no one has any money.
In the end, it's pretty simple - This recession was basically caused by some rich people and the government, so to not extend unemployment benefits is really hideous..... um.. geez, am I turning into a libertarian? What is happening to my brain?!