An old -timer I used to work with at the Texas Highway Department always told me that I had to always say what I wanted (whether I got it or not) because “the squeaky wheel always gets the grease.” He wasn’t wrong because all you have to do is look and see who the media covers.
Remember how the deficit and the debt was the most important crisis facing our country, then it became Obamacare, and now it’s the people on public assistance? The GOP squealed the most so they got the media attention.
The deficit has been cut in half, and the debt is a long-term issue so the budget that was passed didn’t address those issues. The country was satisfied that there was a bipartisan agreement, and another crisis was averted for two years. Republicans in the Senate will not support the budget deal as a whole because those who are running for president will vote against it, to align themself with the base. The other Republicans opposing the budget will do so to pay back the House Republicans for the shutdown.
Obamacare will linger until all the problems are solved and then people will forget the disastrous rollout. In the meantime, the talk shows, newspapers, and talk radio will continue to cover the horror stories.
There will be two issues facing Congress when they finally get back from their holiday break. One will be the farm bill, and the other will be the extension of unemployment benefits. SNAP (food stamps) was separated from the farm bill so the Republicans could vote for cutting food stamps without jeopardizing the farm subsidies. The “makers and takers” is being revived to justify this action.
I know we’ve all heard of abuses of the SNAP, and some have seen what they thought were flagrant abuses, but I think most of those are “Welfare Queen” exaggerations. I believe the government figures which show 76% of those households receiving benefits include a child, an elderly person or a disabled one. These people receive 83% of the benefits. The average monthly SNAP benefit per person is $133.85, or less than $1.50 per person, per meal. The GOP wants to cut $40 billion from the program over ten years but the Democrats also want to cut funds from that program, which is wrong, even if it’s a fraction of the Republican want. When SNAP was a part of the farm bill, it was immediately passed on a bipartisan basis because of the farm subsidies. I saw where the oil companies made $16 billion in profits so far, but we’re still giving them tax incentives. That’s the wealth distribution I’m against.
I think we should extend unemployment benefits beyond the normal 26 weeks until unemployment drops to 6%. There should be some type of reform because I don’t know we can sustain the 99 weeks of benefits that is being proposed. The recipients of those benefits should be required to show proof that they are attending a school to enhance their job skills. It’s not as if all of a sudden, people decided not to work anymore. We were hit with the worst recession since the Great Depression, and we should make accommodations for that. The recipients of those funds use that money to seek a job, pay for their school, and support their family until they are able to get a job. People would rather have a permanent job than having to rely on temporary unemployment insurance. These people spend the money which stimulates the economy.
The ‘greasing the squeaky wheel’ theory was being used against the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. At first, we couldn’t give them a trial in our Federal Court system because it would cause chaos in the city that held the trial. We convicted a few terrorists and sent them to our maximum-security systems and now that will become the norm because no one said anything. Included in a defense bill that will pass, will be funds to release some detainees to other countries and give the remaining, a trial in our Federal courts. This is being done so that we can finally close Guantanamo Bay. Will those prisoners rejoin the fight against us? I suspect some will but don’t American civilian prisoners go back to their lives of crime?