What About Shared Sacrifice?

Dec 07, 2010

By Alan W. Houseman

High unemployment, record poverty, and widespread economic insecurity should force political dialogue into the realm of pragmatism rather than ideology. This means both sides of the aisle should be willing to move away from polarizing ideology to get things accomplished on behalf of the people who elected them.

President Obama on Monday evening, announcing he had compromised with Republicans on tax cuts and unemployment, said he did so because at this time it would be unconscionable to allow workers struggling to find jobs to do without the lifeline that is unemployment insurance.

We appreciate the president's willingness to compromise on behalf of 15 million struggling people looking for work. The measure extends unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for the next 13 months. We also strongly support other provisions that benefit vulnerable families, including extending child tax credit provisions originally in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

However, it is deeply troubling and regrettable that some lawmakers refused to renew unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed until the president agreed to extend tax cuts for the top 2 percent of households - households that for the last three decades have continually gained an increased, concentrated share of the nation's wealth. Without the tax-cut extension, federal tax rates for the wealthy would return to the levels of the economically prosperous 1990s.  

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