This is exactly right.America's long-term unemployed -- an estimated 4 million or more -- constitute the single newest and biggest social problem facing America.
Now their unemployment benefits are about to run out, and the lame-duck Congress may not have the votes to extend them. (You can forget about the next Congress.)...They're also a big problem for the economy. Without enough money in their pockets, they and their families can't pay their mortgages, which keeps fueling the mortgage crisis. Nor can they replace worn-out cars and clothing, or buy much of anything else, which is a drag on the economy.
Republicans and many blue-dog Democrats say we can't afford another extension.
But these are many of the same people who say we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for at least another two years.
Extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent would cost an estimated $120 billion over the next two years. That's more than another unemployment benefit extension would cost.
The unemployed need the money. The rich don't.
Moreover, the top 1 percent spends a small fraction of their income. That's what it means to be rich -- you already have most of what you want. So extending the Bush tax cut to them won't stimulate the economy.
Yet people without jobs, and their families, are likely to spend every penny of unemployment benefits they receive. That will go back into the economy and save or create jobs.
America's priorities shouldn't be towards rewarding the rich, they're doing just fine, thank you. We need to help the middle class and the unemployed keep their homes, their cars, and care for their families. This will help the economy. Otherwise, these people could lost the ability to contribute to the American economy forever. And even if you're a completely compassionless, selfish prick, you have an incentive to help them, because in the end the loss of their contribution hurts you as well.