The mean team is winning the jobless game

Tuesday, July 9, 2013   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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"Come on team, let's get mean!"

This is not the chant of rabid football fans, egging on their team to pound their opponents. Rather, this is the raucous war cry of far-out right-wing ideologues pumping up Team GOP to pound the bejeezus out of America's millions of unemployed workers. Far from a game, this is real, and it’s a moral abomination.

I've been unemployed before, and I can tell you it's a misery – all the more so today, when there are far more people out of work than there are job openings. This leaves millions of our fellow Americans mired in the debilitating misery of longterm unemployment.

But that's not miserable enough for a feral breed of Ayn-Randian zealots who're lobbying Republican governors, legislators, and congress critters to punish the jobless for… well, for their joblessness. In this perverse universe, unemployment benefits and other poverty-prevention programs are sapping our nation's vitality by allowing "moochers" to live the Life of Reilly and avoid work.

The GOP's budget demi-god, Rep. Paul Ryan, summarized this doctrine in a fanciful homily deriding America's tattered safety net as "a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency." This from a guy who has spent his adult life in the sweet-swaying hammock of Congressional privilege.

As ridiculous and just plain mean as this attitude is, it plays well in the insanity of Republican primary elections. So, state-after-state (as well as the US House) are succumbing to this pound-the-poor, right-wing dogma by frenetically slashing unemployment benefits.

Behind this faux-philosophical push are the smiling barons of corporate America. Without jobless payments, you see, desperate millions will be forced to take jobs on whatever miserable terms the barons decree.

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