Our thoughts this holiday season should be with tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers struggling with long term unemployment, trying to scrape together enough money to stay in their homes, put food on the table, get necessary medical care, and buy presents for their children as they anxiously search for a family supporting job.
Economic data tells us it’s not their fault, that there just aren't enough jobs, that the economic crisis sparked by Wall Street greed is far from over, and that long term unemployment is still 10 points higher than it has been at any time since 1980.*
But conservative politicians in Washington and Madison want to blame the workers rather than take responsibility for fixing the economy. In an act of reckless disregard that might make Ebenezer Scrooge shudder, conservatives in the Wisconsin legislature want to cut in half the number of weeks a worker can receive unemployment benefits!
The malice conservative politicians are showing towards workers struggling to succeed in an economy that is stacked against them is stunning.
In Congress, conservative politicians want to allow emergency unemployment compensation to expire at the end of the year, cutting unemployment benefits from 54 to 26 weeks. That would cause over 23,000 Wisconsin workers to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the year, and another 41,000 to lose benefits early next year.*
In Madison, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and State Senator Frank Lasee have floated a proposal to slash unemployment benefits in stages from 26 weeks ultimately down to a meager 12 weeks!
Conservative politicians expect us to believe that unemployment is caused by the unemployed, and that if we yank the social safety net out from under these families they will try harder--and this will create jobs. That’s absurd and dangerous!
The real goal of conservative politicians is to distract attention from the damage done by deregulation of Wall Street, and the responsibility elected leaders have to restore economic conditions where people who want to work can get ahead, and everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.
This holiday season, help fight back by supporting our campaign for a fair economy. Please make a tax deductible donation to Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund.