Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Congress Currently Has A Constitutional License To Commit Social Holocaust With Little Ramifications From Voters

Readers, I owe you a correction.  When I used the words "up hill" to describe the work needed on our part for Tier 5 Unemployment a month or so ago, I should have said "up a cliff and over a mountain".  Being more curious about the states hit hardest, the numbers, percentages, and researching the United States Senators who are saying they have no "political will".  If you consider some factors, it's easy to see now why they would say that and believe there would be no political repercussions.  Numbers are in the favor of Tom Coburn and Max Baucus and they know this.

I realize that my readers want action now and believe me, I appreciate that.  So do I - this is why I help as much as I can for Tier 5 Advocacy and so do you.  But take a look at these numbers with me and look at this chart compiled from data from the USDOL and the United States Senate.  I am not a Naysayer, I am just wanting to illustrate how difficult this actually is when you consider the raw data and the political factors that may be in play: 

(These numbers are a reminder of how much harder the lobbying needs to be pushing for Tier 5 Unemployment). 

#1.  Only 28 out of 50 states would receive assistance from a Tier 5 Unemployment Extension (assuming the legislation is written to reflect assistance for states that have 8.5% unemployment or more like Tier 4 was).  No wonder some of the individual states have began setting up WPA Projects.

#2.  Out of the 28 states mentioned that would even benefit, there are a total of 56 United States Senators.  (That number alone, even if they were all from the same political party all in agreement, is not enough to break a filibuster)  In order to get to an up or down vote on anything, 60 votes are required.

#3.  Out of the 56 Senators in the states that would benefit, 32 are Democrats and 24 are Republicans.  With this math, why even bother calling for unanimous consent when discussing issues related to unemployment?  The partisan bickering in Washington is too much for any unanimous consent on any issue.

#4.  Even if Democrats were able to get all of the other 27 Democrats and Independents to vote for something their state would not benefit from in an election year, they are still in need of 1 Republican vote to break a filibuster.  This scenario is our best option and the most realistic of how Tier 5 could happen.  We would need to get all Democrats to unite on this issue and then 1 Republican to break from the party.

#5.  Neither side will do anything to break the cycle of bad politics (and that's true on every issue - not just unemployment).  Even if an honest Senator changed his or her ways and wanted to break the cycle - the numbers are just not there.  There's also the political quagmire that if Democrats nod in favor of  more than 99 weeks that would send Rush Limbaugh the rest of the ammo he needs all the way into November to pick apart the Stimulus Bill more and helps validate the conservative label of those "Socialist, Communist Democratic Liberal Jews" running up the National Debt on a spending spree.  

Republicans in the high unemployment states cannot vote in favor of it because.  Because...  They have to contradict their "Vote Hell No" Campaign?  Your guess is as good as mine why they are voting "Nay".  They have made the calculation that the unemployed in their states would not vote for them anyway so they say, "Tough Sh__".  (To the credit of several Republicans in the high unemployment category, they have broke party lines and did the right thing).  But you do not have to hear the news from me that Jim Bunning is no friend to the long term unemployed and the Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell voted "Nay" on the last effort just to extend out availability dates for unemployment.

Democrats seem too concerned with increasing their poll numbers and holding their majority and Republicans have nothing to lose so they have nothing better to do than attempt sabotage in some cases, fear in others, and hypocrisy in the rest.  No one wins in this situation.  No political party benefits and most importantly the American people do not win.

If this nation were a true democracy, this blog would not exist.  We would not need to organize protests.  There would not be this Congressional hold up.  In fact, the way they all think about their own states only (and it is completely natural to think about your own state - but not when there is a widespread crisis like this),  most would better serve the country if they were State Senators and not United States Senators.  There's a time when a United States Senator must prioritize what is better for the country as opposed to what's better for their approval rating.  In fact, their concern over their approval rating is only going to make their rating go further down.  The American People want more unison, more action, and the political ads are already starting and the ads do nothing but divide and conquer when we have very real and very serious issues that plague the country. 

In a true Democracy, the two Senators from New York (with a much larger population) would trample the needs of the two Senators from Tennessee on this issue.  The population from New York State cannot be fairly compared against the population of Tennessee.  The bottom line is that a social holocaust is happening and based on the raw data, it's not only Constitutional but it also has little, if any, ramifications.  It would be unconstitutional for there not to be two United States Senators from each state, therefore this social injustice is 100% legal and there will be little, if any, consequences in the body that has most political power because that social injustice is completely Constitutional and the numbers are not there. 

Even if they get voted out, they will not see an unemployment line.  They have their next jobs already lined up.  Be that a Presidential appointment or as a Corporate Executive who owes them a favor.  How much job security do you think you would have if you voted to bail out a large financial institution like Goldman Sachs?  The larger punishment might just be making them all stay (although I understand the tough sell that is).  Making them stay and have to work this out would absolutely kill them on the inside - although they are too good of a politician to ever admit such a thing on a camera.

Think about it though.

We should treat our Senators like jurors are treated.  Let's lock all 100 of them up in the same room and demand they reach a unanimous verdict.  If they cannot reach a unanimous verdict, they all get replaced with other Senators (jurors) for a retrial.  Let's pay them $10 per day too just like a juror.  That method is good enough for our Judicial system - why not the Legislative system too?

Using both 2008 Presidential campaign slogans, if they could learn to put the Country First - that would truly be Change We Can Believe In.  For now it is still politics as usual with crisis after crisis emerging.  Someone on Facebook posted a statement very true and if I knew for certain that person would mind recognition I would post who but the statement was:  "It took the country more than ten years to get into this situation, it's going to take a whole lot more than 99 weeks to be out of it."

Tier 5 is certainly possible and I would not be advocating so strongly if I did not truly believe that.  It's going to require a lot more United States Senators and a lot less State Senators to accomplish the goal though.  The political will exists in the fashion of a democracy but not in the fashion for a Republic. 
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