Creating Unemployment

House Chamber, Washington, D.C. 
July 22, 2010

 M. Speaker: 

Anyone who has experienced firsthand the quiet panic that stalks every waking hour of an unemployed family knows how frightening and debilitating is chronic unemployment.  You watch your savings evaporate, you see your children going without the material things their friends enjoy, and you count down the months or even weeks until you won’t be able to make that crucial rent or house payment.

That unemployment check is a lifeline in such times, and I fully appreciate and understand how desperately an unemployed family is looking to the security of getting 99 weeks of such checks.

But I can’t go along with this for a simple reason: The only way out of this nightmare of unemployment for these families is a job. 

Speaker Pelosi has said that the most important thing we could do to create jobs is to extend unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, because the unemployed would spend this money and stimulate the economy.

This analysis completely ignores the harsh and glaring fact that before this money can be put back into the economy, it must first be taken out of that same economy.  We will have to take $34 billion more out of the economy in order to finance these extra benefits through November.  In fact, this is the eighth such extension, totalling $120 billion – meaning over $1,600 from the pocket of an average family of four.

And since we don’t have that money, we’ll have to borrow it from exactly the same capital pool that would otherwise have been loaned to businesses seeking to expand jobs or to homebuyers seeking to re-enter the housing market or to consumers seeking to make consumer purchases – and remember that 2/3 of economic growth depends upon consumer spending. 

But that money now won’t be there to loan for jobs and homes and economic growth. 

This is $34 billion of relief to the unemployed that they desperately need and that I desperately wish we could responsibly extend.  But to do so would also mean $34 billion of fewer jobs.  It means perpetuating this never-ending nightmare of unemployment for these families and, indeed, throwing more families into that nightmare.

We’ve been told for several years now – by both Presidents Bush and Obama – that stimulus spending would help the economy.  But it hasn’t.  And there’s a reason it hasn’t: Government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy that it first hasn’t taken out of that same economy.  Government cannot provide a dollar of temporary relief to the unemployed without first removing a dollar of permanent relief for the unemployed – a job.

The talking point du jour from the other side is, “Republicans have no problems giving tax breaks to the wealthy but won’t extend a lifeline to the unemployed.”  Once again, they just don’t get it.  Milton Friedman once observed that spending IS the effective level of taxation.  Spending can only be paid for in two ways – current taxes or future taxes.  High taxes and deficits are just the symptoms.  The problem is the spending – and this is a spending bill.

On May 9, 1939 – after nearly a decade of unemployment checks and stimulus spending – and with unemployment at 17.2 percent – Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, made this stunning admission during a meeting with Democratic Members of the House Ways and Means Committee.   He said: “No gentlemen, we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong as far as I am concerned, somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... And an enormous debt to boot!"

M. Speaker, let us heed the lessons of history before we totally destroy our economy.  Perpetual unemployment checks put these desperate families farther and farther away from the only thing that can truly end their suffering – a real job.  That’s a fact nobody wants to face around here – but until we do, chronic unemployment will continue to stalk the land, and God forbid that a few years from now another Democratic Secretary of Treasury will have to make the same admission as Henry Morgenthau did 71 years ago.
 

 

 

Tele-townhall banner 

Latest News

Statement on the President's Amnesty Order

Last night, the President asserted a power to nullify existing immigration law by ordering the executive branch to ignore it.

In Memory of Deputy Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis

On October 24, Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Detective Michael David Davis were wantonly gunned down in one of the most cold-blooded rampages in the history of either county. By all accounts, these were exemplary law enforcement officers, fathers, husbands, sons and neighbors.

Statement in Response to the Proposal of the National Park Service to Increase Entrance Fees, Including those Charged to Visitors at Yosemite National Park:

Last year, Yosemite Park management sought to drastically reduce the park's amenities that attract visitors and generate revenues. This year, it seeks to increase admission fees on those same visitors by 50 percent.

View more »

Search

Connect with Tom

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • News Feed

Upcoming Events

Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
Upcoming Staff Satellite Office Hours for November:
 
Amador County
 
Jackson 
Tuesday, November 25th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Conference Room D
County Administration Center
810 Court Street
 
Calaveras County
 
San Andreas 
Tuesday, November 25th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Calaveras County Water Agency Conference Room
120 Toma Court
 
El Dorado County
 
Camino 
Thursday, November 13th
9:00 am - 11:00am
Camino Pollock Pines Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road
 
El Dorado Hills 
Thursday, November 13th
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Fresno County
 
Auberry 
Thursday, November 13th
11:00am - 1:00pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County

Oakhurst 
Wednesday, November 5th
10:00am - 12:00pm
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Coarsegold 
Wednesday, November 5th
3:00pm - 5: 00pm
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa 
Wednesday, November 
19th
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Placer County
 
Auburn 
Wednesday, November 12th
9:00am - 11:00am
Auburn City Hall
Room #10
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Lincoln 
Wednesday, November 12th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin 
Tuesday, November 25th
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3970 Rocklin Rd
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora 
Tuesday, November 25th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 North Washington St
 
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.