Pass unemployment insurance extension

BY:Scott Marshall| February 15, 2012

The quote in the subject is part of a larger quote from President Obama in his battle with the GOP over extending unemployment benefits.  Here is the full quote: “Congress needs to extend that tax cut along with vital insurance lifelines for folks who have lost their jobs during this recession, and they need to do it now, without drama and without delay, no ideological sideshows to gum up the works, no self-inflicted wounds. Just pass this middle-class tax cut. Pass the extension of unemployment insurance. Do it before it’s too late, and I will sign it right away.” We can make this happen if we join together to do so now.

Jobless Workers are Not Political Pawns!

There are only two weeks left to pass the unemployment extension. Weigh in with your members of Congress today as part of a national call-in day. Just dial 888.245.3381 or send an email and tell them to continue unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut through the end of the year without onerous restrictions, including ones that could harm low-income kids. Even if Speaker Boehner manages to make a deal with the President, there is still danger that the far-right of the GOP will balk. The AFL-CIO, USAction and the National Employment Law Project are asking members of Congress to ” Walk a Mile” in an unemployed person’s shoes to help elected officials get the message to pass the extension.

Obama’s Budget

On Monday President Obama released his budget request for fiscal 2013. In a welcome departure from last year’s intense focus on budget cuts, this budget focuses more heavily on the still-massive unemployment crisis. The proposal starts by investing $350 billion in job creation, more than $300 billion of which will occur in fiscal years 2012 and 2013.  These proposals draw heavily from the American Jobs Act. This is severely needed, as The Nation puts it, we see a ” perfect storm” threatening long-term unemployed. More analysis of the budget and its emphasis on job creation rather than budget cuts can be found here.

Support Green Jobs

Another effort for jobs creation is being spearheaded by Jobs with Justice, which has an online petition to support Green Collar Jobs mentioned in Obama’s American Jobs Act. In this Act, jobs for youth is a focus – which is especially important since the jobless rate for 18- to 24-year-olds was 16.3% last year, compared to 8.8% for the overall population. The bottom line: Fewer young adults hold jobs than ever before. Where should the money come from to fund this bill? How about a “Robin Hood” Tax, as rallied for in Chicago last week?

Tales of Class Warfare

Often the media portray “class warfare” as such things as a tax on the 1% or ending corporate welfare. What is often missed is what is really class warfare, such as recent attacks on the unemployed and other working class recipients of public funds. In an effort to portray the unemployed as lazy, Sen. Burr (R-NC) has come up with a bill to force unemployed to volunteer 20 hours a week – on top of proving they are also searching for jobs 20 hours a week. In a humorous segment on The Daily Show we learn in Florida the GOP passed mandatory drug testing for “welfare” recipients, but not for another class of people who exist on the public coffers: elected officials. Even Mitt Romney is getting in on the fun. Rachel Maddow ponders his proposal (from the 6:34 to 11:22 mark in the video) that anyone receiving government money should be drug tested (like farmers and folks on Social Security, perhaps?).

Please make sure to visit the People’s World online for the best in worker’s news!  




    Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

    Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

    Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.

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