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Pierce writes: "Rob Portman knows full well his amendment is doomed in the Senate, but he's going to attach it to the extension anyway because kicking the poors is never a bad career move, and he knows the extension itself if doomed in the House because, in matters like this, the House is little more than a Dickensian madhouse."

Mitt Romney and Rob Portman. (photo: Reuters)
Mitt Romney and Rob Portman. (photo: Reuters)


The Unemployed Get Screwed Again

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

11 January 14

 

ob Portman of Ohio, who might have been the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee had the Romney people not been terrified that, if they put Romney and Portman on the same stage together, the earth would spin into a dark region of the galaxy made up only of the primeval tedium whence the cosmos came, and we'd all come out named Tagg or something. Now, though, he's back in the Senate being "reasonable," which means that Portman felt free to allow an extension of unemployment benefits to come to a vote in the Senate, so Portman then could devise a way to sabotage those benefits because that is reasonable and bipartisan and centrist, and nobody will yell at him on the radio too loudly back in Columbus or Elyria.

It depends, he said, on whether lawmakers find a way to pay for the $6.4 billion cost. Wednesday, Portman said he has just such a way. He said that people drawing two other kinds of government aid -- Social Security disability insurance payments (SSDI) and trade adjustment assistance (TAA) -- can simultaneously get unemployment benefits, which he thinks is wrong.It depends, he said, on whether lawmakers find a way to pay for the $6.4 billion cost. Wednesday, Portman said he has just such a way. He said that people drawing two other kinds of government aid -- Social Security disability insurance payments (SSDI) and trade adjustment assistance (TAA) -- can simultaneously get unemployment benefits, which he thinks is wrong.

The "compromise" on offer is to help the unemployed while stoking the usua; anger at a vague claque of disabled freeloaders elsewhere. Where ever did Portman get the idea that the country's economy is beset by double-dipping cripples?

In 2012, the Heritage Foundation discussed the idea in a blog post entitled, "Freeloaders on safety net programs double dip to get thousands in taxpayer benefits."

In short, Rob Portman knows full well his amendment is doomed in the Senate, but he's going to attach it to the extension anyway because kicking the poors is never a bad career move, and he knows the extension itself if doomed in the House because, in matters like this, the House is little more than a Dickensian madhouse. So Portman, reasonably, has made the calculation that he can profit politically by this little dumbshow. Meanwhile, the longterm unemployed, who originally got sold out on the Murray-Ryan bipartisan Glory Train, have to be completely unsurprised that any relief at all seems now to be beyond the powers of the performance artists of our national legislature.


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+84 # Barbara K 2014-01-11 13:42
The biggest "freeloaders" in the country are the GOPigs/Tbaggers in Congress. They plan to work 1/4 of the time and collect total pay from us this year, plus we pay their benefits. Take the 3/4 pay that is unearned and use it towards paying the Unemployment Benefits for those who really deserve them. They would be working if there were jobs for them. The GOPigs/Tbaggers have high paying jobs and don't want to work.
GEEZ - VOTE THESE IDIOTS OUT IN NOVEMBER !

.
 
 
+29 # wrknight 2014-01-11 17:32
Amendment XXVIII to the Constitution of the United States of America

Note: This amendment supercedes the first paragraph of Article 1, Section 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States, but in no case shall exceed the minimum wage. They shall receive no perks of office beyond those received by the lowest paid employee of the Congress. They shall not, in any Case, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, nor in going to or returning from the same; nor for any Speech or Debate in either House, shall they be immune from questioning in any Place.
 
 
+13 # reiverpacific 2014-01-11 22:37
Quoting wrknight:
Amendment XXVIII to the Constitution of the United States of America

Note: This amendment supercedes the first paragraph of Article 1, Section 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States, but in no case shall exceed the minimum wage. They shall receive no perks of office beyond those received by the lowest paid employee of the Congress. They shall not, in any Case, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, nor in going to or returning from the same; nor for any Speech or Debate in either House, shall they be immune from questioning in any Place.


Excellent and appropriate point. Thanks for pointing it out.
Let the reactionaries and their fink-supporters debate that one!
I'd love to see it on the floor of the "House" (of cards) occupied and mocked in it's very nature, by some of the biggest leeches money can buy, who claim to "represent" us (both of the 1.5 major parties included)!
 
 
+22 # ruttaro 2014-01-11 21:26
I hope so, Barbara. They move their lips but the sound comes out of their other opening. As I see it, the GOP (Grumpy Old Pricks) applies supply side economics to the labor market. It goes something like: If people would just go out and look for jobs the jobs would appear. Take away unemployment benefits and the jobless will go out in the labor market and start working. But that runs somewhat counter to their other illogic of suppy side economics. Cut taxes so the "job creators' can create jobs. So we did cut taxes and something happened: we still went into a recession causing millions to lose their jobs. Following this (il)logic, if we cut taxes again, the job creators will use the tax savings to create jobs. But something is missing in this equation: demand. No business will hire people without a signal from the market that consumers want to buy. Cutting unemployment benefits AND taxes will lead to deflation not growth. If anyone should have known this it was the pizza man, Herman Caine. No pizza shop owner walks in and tells everyone to start making pizzas. He waits until the orders are phoned in. Extending unemployment puts money in pockets of people who will then call for a large pizza with one topping. Then production starts, demand for product results in hiring and we can begin reducing unemployment rolls. So to the GOP: if you insist on cutting unemployment benefits, then raise taxes and hire the unemployed to fix crumbling infrastructure. Solved.
 
 
+43 # minggnim 2014-01-11 14:00
How can a person receive unemployment if they're disabled? To receive unemployment, you must be able to work.
 
 
-95 # Penn 2014-01-11 14:43
Based on fraud and supported by Democrats.
 
 
+54 # ericlipps 2014-01-11 15:20
Quoting Penn:
Based on fraud and supported by Democrats.


And your evidence that it's "based on fraud" is . . . ?

But perhaps evidence is just for us peasants of the "reality-based community," not for the nobility of the surreal right.
 
 
+3 # JSRaleigh 2014-01-12 09:14
Well, it is a fraudulent claim by the teabaggers.Quoting ericlipps:
Quoting Penn:
Based on fraud and supported by Democrats.


And your evidence that it's "based on fraud" is . . . ?

But perhaps evidence is just for us peasants of the "reality-based community," not for the nobility of the surreal right.


It's a fraudulent claim from the Heritage Foundation.
 
 
+28 # cakhuxel 2014-01-11 15:34
Spoken by someone who is obviously uninformed.
 
 
+34 # kalpal 2014-01-11 15:34
Unlike RW fraud that comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted, right?
 
 
+31 # kbarrand 2014-01-11 15:35
That's ridiculous, and it's not very helpful when you're trying to find solutions. Please grow up.
 
 
+28 # bingers 2014-01-11 15:58
Quoting kbarrand:
That's ridiculous, and it's not very helpful when you're trying to find solutions. Please grow up.


You kidding? Penn is 55, lives in his mothers' basement and makes his living spamming websites of his superiors in rationality and intellect.
 
 
+32 # pegasus4508 2014-01-11 16:59
So much hate, so many lies. It is not possible to GET unemployment unless you have worked. Period. Keep your GOP lies to your self or PROVE what you say. Or just get lost in that dark, primordial soup from whence your sub human self crawled.
 
 
+5 # unitedwestand 2014-01-11 23:42
How can you defends these charlatans in Congress while knowing that they are screwing the people every which way they can. Shame on you Penn, maybe Cheney can help you get a heart.
 
 
0 # tonenotvolume 2014-01-12 03:50
Sounds like a self-descriptio n. Enjoy your right to express an opinion.
 
 
+43 # cakhuxel 2014-01-11 15:31
You are allowed to earn a specific amount and still keep your SS. My 29 year old son is allowed to earn just about $1,000 a month. He receives $741 in SS. It averages out to about $19,600 net per year in combined earned and unearned income. It's still pretty difficult to live on that in certain areas of the country, especially if you have catastrophic medical bills, even w Medicaid. He keeps trying to earn enough to get off SS, but that is never going to happen given employers bias against the disabled.
 
 
+8 # reiverpacific 2014-01-11 22:31
Quoting minggnim:
How can a person receive unemployment if they're disabled? To receive unemployment, you must be able to work.


Actually quite a lot of disabled people work, especially if their workplaces in many cases thus mandated, makes accommodation for handicapped people with innate, cultivated or qualification-b ased abilities that can enhance the capabilities of that business (I'm still friends with a one-legged welder that my dad trained back in Scotland and now has his own business).
I'm trying to get a program started for disabled veterans and battered women based on the healing and creative qualities of clay, so they can avail themselves of a path to learning and starting their own craft based business to get back some of the self-respect that the death-bully-war -based culture has taken from them. It's already done wonders for a couple of people abandoned and condemned as "simple" or "overly eccentric" by the local bourgeoise.
Ergo, "disabled" people who become unemployed are just as entitled (there again is that word so detested by the self-righteous right) to the unemployment insurance that they and their more enlightened employers pay into, as is anybody else.
So I'm not sure where "disabled" kicks in; it's a matter of degree and interpretation, innit!?
The US right is dedicated to making us all equal-opportuni ty disposable drones and wage-slaves, so they can consign us all to the garbage-can of their greed-driven detritus at will.
 
 
+2 # rockieball 2014-01-12 10:48
Their are many with a disability that have jobs. Being disabled does not mean you are unable to work. It can mean you are unable to work certain jobs or the job that one had before they were disabled. But it is harder for them to find a job again if they are laid off or the company goes out of business. I know quiet a few people with a disability from physical to health. Me I have a disability Asthma and could not work in areas that use strong chemicals. Yet I worked for an airline for 25 years and then as a houseman at a resort hotel for 15. In my their is no bleach or ammonia used for cleaning. If one is completely disabled and cannot work they do not come under any unemployment but come under social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
 
 
+73 # James Klimaski 2014-01-11 14:05
Using the Portman definition of double-dipping, let's reduce the salaries of members of Congress in an amount equal to any investment income they earn during that year.
 
 
+35 # bingers 2014-01-11 16:03
Quoting James Klimaski:
Using the Portman definition of double-dipping, let's reduce the salaries of members of Congress in an amount equal to any investment income they earn during that year.


Let's only allow members of congress an amount equal to the poverty level in total income as long as they are in congress. Require them to live in Army type barracks and eat in congressional mess halls. No perks other than the cheapest possible fares to the home district once a month and ban them from noting on any measure that benefits, directly or indirectly, any company or corporate executive which has given so much as one dollar to their campaighs.
 
 
+35 # wrknight 2014-01-11 17:07
I'll go a step further. Let's eliminate all their perks, reduce their wages to $7.25 an hour and make them punch a clock for every hour they want to get paid.
 
 
+22 # rose528 2014-01-11 14:52
@penn you have to be a nazi fascist party of NO (repugs) know nothing follower and only watch faux "news) which makes you less intelligEnt than LIBERALS
 
 
+22 # backwards_cinderella 2014-01-11 15:05
is there any way to get rid of Penn?
 
 
+22 # bingers 2014-01-11 16:04
Quoting backwards_cinderella:
is there any way to get rid of Penn?


Show pictures of him in his little girl panties.
 
 
+19 # pegasus4508 2014-01-11 17:01
Please - he just needs to GO AWAY! Revoke his posts to 1 per day. Just give us a break with the hate!
 
 
+2 # Lolanne 2014-01-12 13:03
Quoting backwards_cinderella:
is there any way to get rid of Penn?


Totally ignore him (her? it?). There's no payoff for this kind of nasty agitator if they get no attention. Ignore it! No red thumbs, no responses...NOT HING.
 
 
+2 # Barbara K 2014-01-12 15:25
You can report him by clicking on the "Report to administrator", bottom right hand corner of your comment section.

..
 
 
+47 # Vardoz 2014-01-11 15:10
We are all headed for the poor house if it keeps up like this- There is a deliberate agenda to impoverish the majority and this is why the middle class is being wiped out in our rich nation. Screw us at any cost just for their profits. This is their moto. What is ours? Roll over and play dead?
 
 
+7 # tonenotvolume 2014-01-12 04:19
Which begs the question, "Why aren't millions of us on the Mall protesting this agenda?" It is an obvious and deliberate, well-orchestrat ed scheme, no longer even a hidden agenda, to enrich (engorge) themselves at our expense. I propose renaming Thanksgiving as Progressive Day. This allows those that can to travel to Wash. DC for a mega-rally on a non-working day. Those that can't make the trip should do support rallies in their own towns and cities. This should be a well-orchestrat ed, fully media-covered protest against the litany of charges that can be brought against the 1%. A huge, short, overwhelming, (and peaceful) demonstration of power and people stating "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
 
 
+3 # stoher9 2014-01-12 09:45
I like your idea, the only problem is that for the vast majority of the working class there are no "holidays" any more. Every day is a work day and a lot of those who work on "holidays" don't even get their time & a half, because their employers rip them off for it, claiming they are "part time" or "independent contractors".
 
 
+40 # giraffee2012 2014-01-11 15:15
Those companies who manufacture out of USA don't have to pay for unemployment (or whatever taxes paid by their counterparts who employ in USA) - so they get a tax break -- there's where the "exchange" for this money CAN and SHOULD come from.

And why does GE not pay taxes and OIL/Farmers, etc. get subsidies when they are the privatized richest in USA?

It's now a Dem/GOP matter - it's the broken system of our tax structure and allowing the rich to get more than their fair share.

As Jon Stewart said "you's gotta pay (taxes) to live in a free society" (paraphrased) but the elected government is owned by the super pack contributors which the RATS allowed to go full blown with the 2010 citizens united law.

Time for Scalia to take a hike and don't forget to take his puppet (Thomas) with him. ALito and Roberts can't follow law = they follow what the big $$ that owns them ....
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2014-01-11 23:12
Actually they do pay unemployment taxes. Both the employer and the employee contribute to the unemployment funds in various states. So companies do have to pay for unemployment.
 
 
+31 # kalpal 2014-01-11 15:36
Saint Ronnie's lies and dementia keep on ruling America's RW with sick lies and nightmarish fabulism.
 
 
+13 # droth1952 2014-01-11 16:16
Don't put the onus on Portman, et al.

TAA benefits are necessary because the Dems bent over and made sure that NAFTA, CAFTA, the Korea FTA, the WTO and, barring some courage the TPP put workers in the position of needing that assistance. Obama and the Dems are as much to blame as Portman and the Repugs.
 
 
+37 # mighead 2014-01-11 16:30
I TOTALLY agree with the GOP that other budget cuts MUST be made to compensate for extending unemployment benefits and foodstamps.

And we ALL KNOW where those cuts must be made:

This country spent more on the military in 2013 than China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, and Brazil combined. And we are not SUPPOSED to be at war!!!

Meanwhile, all of the myriad of US military and intelligence agency budgets just keep on growing like a cancer on the nation.

It's WAY BEYOND TIME to CUT military spending. The obvious level to cut back to is pre-9/11 for STARTERS!!!
 
 
+27 # Carol R 2014-01-11 16:39
"In 2012, the Heritage Foundation discussed the idea in a blog post entitled, "Freeloaders on safety net programs double dip to get thousands in taxpayer benefits."

I'm sure there are a few people who are gaming the system. However, the vast majority of people who need unemployment insurance are desperate for jobs. Since there are three people applying for every job, there will be some losers. It is unfair to call such people 'freeloaders'.

Nobody in the GOP seems to recall the billions of dollars of global destruction financial 'wizards' on Wall street caused. All they keep repeating is the amount of money poor 'freeloaders' might get when needing unemployment insurance.
 
 
+6 # Rain17 2014-01-11 23:09
What I've always found amazing about conservatives who claim that "it's so easy to get disability, food stamps, Medicaid, and welfare" have never really looked into it. They all claim that there are thousands--make that tens, if not, hundreds of thousands--of people out there "cheating the system". They all inevitably have that same ostensibly "able-bodied friend" getting disability benefits.

Qualifying for SSDI is extremely difficult and usually requires an attorney to manage the appeals because the SSA rejects the majority of initial applications. And it can take at least year to finally qualify for benefits even if the attorney successful appeals the initial rejection. The average benefit is around $1177 per month. And in most areas no one can really leave on that.

For Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare the documentation to receive approval is extensive. And to qualify someone's income has to be extremely low and that person generally has very little, if any assets. How most conservatives assume that it is so "easy" to get benefits is beyond because a cursory Internet search proves otherwise.
 
 
+29 # pegasus4508 2014-01-11 17:03
There is an easy fix. Eliminate all Corporate WELFARE! In a TRUE capitalistic society, your profits are not guaranteed. Corporate welfare allows corporations to show a profit with lots of help from the American taxpayer, the same taxpayer that should not have unemployment, or health insurance, or education or FOOD!
 
 
+4 # Rain17 2014-01-11 22:38
I looked at the article and this line caught my attention:

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/01/sen_rob_portman_offers_way_to.html

"One beneficiary got more than $62,000 in overlapping benefits in a year, the GAO said."

snip

"Such an overlap in benefits affected less than 1 percent of beneficiaries in both programs, the GAO said."

So Portman is concerned about less than 1% of the recipients of these programs. But I look at the $62K number and I still find it hard to believe that someone receiving all those benefits would get that much.

I was on unemployment in 2006 and my weekly check was $300. At 26 weeks of benefits that would be $7800. The average SSDI benefit is around $1177 per month. So even if someone was receiving both benefits at once you're looking at about $21924, nowhere near $62K. And I looked up TAA:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_Adjustment_Assistance#Trade_Adjustment_Assistance_for_Workers

Apparently one has to be over 50, in a training program, and must find work within 26 weeks, just like unemployment. The link says that the maximum benefit over two years is $10K. So, if I add $10K to that $21924, that gets up to $31924, just shy of $32K--and only have of $62K.

So I don't know where the GAO is getting these numbers. They seem unrealistic to me.

Continued in next post. . . .
 
 
+5 # Rain17 2014-01-11 22:57
Of all the social programs conservatives especially abhor SSDI. More so than food stamps, welfare, or even Medicaid, SSDI angers them like no other program. They hate that program with a passion.

Inevitably I've had many conservative friends tell me that "it's so easy to get disability". They almost always follow up with the same anecdote of that ostensibly "able-bodied friend" who is "receiving generous benefits". It's like they all have that same "friend" whom they personally know is "cheating the system".

This is in spite of the fact that SSDI initially denies benefits for the majority of those who apply. The criteria are extremely stringent and a person could literally be hooked up to machine in a wheelchair, but still not qualify for benefits. After the initial denial applicants then have to appeal and almost always have to hire an attorney. And even then being approved is still a challenge.

So I really don't get how those on the right can honestly believe that someone can simply walk into the SSDI office and leave in 15-20 minutes with a large, generous check. A quick Google Search will reveal that the reality is significantly different.
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2014-01-12 09:12
The simple fact is that few people bother to question or investigate what they read or hear. That requires thought, energy and time - time that is taken away from the TV. The vast majority of people simply believe what they want to believe. It's the old saw "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts".
 
 
+1 # Rain17 2014-01-12 16:32
Yeah indeed. And a few months ago, while everyone slammed 60 Minutes for their Benghazi report, lost in the anger over that story was the report that 60 Minutes ran at roughly the same time on SSDI. Their piece basically amounted to right-wing talking points on the program and only featured conservatives. But no one ever called that story into light at all.
 
 
+8 # unitedwestand 2014-01-11 23:52
Like Elizabeth Warren said: "It's a rigged system." The people that should be in prison are on their yachts and mansion while too many people are scraping the bottom of the barrel or in prison for petty crimes.
 
 
+1 # Skippydelic 2014-01-12 15:57
Is "Find a way to pay for..." the new GOP mantra?

How many times have we heard the GOP talk about 'finding a way to pay for' social programs, to the extent that they actually talked about finding 'offsets' for relief to HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS?

WHY do we never hear about finding a way to offset TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES?

WHY do we never hear about finding a way to offset SUBSIDIES for MAJOR CORPORATIONS that are making RECORD PROFITS?

The fact is, the UNNECESSARY payouts to those who DON'T need them cost FAR MORE than ALL of the social programs COMBINED!

So why don't THEY need to be 'paid for'?
 

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