Saturday, September 20, 2008

US Commentary: If We Can Bail Out Multi-Million Dollar Companies, We Can Do More For The Unemployed

Judge Greg Mathis

The federal government has spent billions of taxpayer dollars bailing out or assisting in the bailouts of some of the country's largest corporations. Insisting its support was intended to stop a complete collapse of the nation's financial market, the feds dipped into its reserves, despite criticism from experts that the bailouts were only prolonging the inevitable.

Where, then, is the federal government's support of the average American? In these tough economic times, people in this country are greatly in need of assistance. It is time for our nation's leaders to stop acting on behalf of corporate interests and work for those individuals who drive our economy.

The unemployment rate in this country is just over six percent; the highest it has been since 2003. Since January, more than 605,000 jobs have been cut from the economy. Because the job market is tight, many job seekers find themselves out of work for many months.  Unemployment benefits typically last 26 weeks, or six months. In June, Congress extended the length of time a recipient may collect benefits to 39 weeks. For those who find themselves out of work much longer, losing what may be their only source of income could result in financial disaster. Considering the number of currently unemployed people in this country, it is not unlikely that this could create a chain reaction that not only affects individuals and families, but also the nation's economy.

National lawmakers must work quickly and extend the length of unemployment benefits for out of work Americans. If there is no extension in place by October, 800,000 unemployed people will stop receiving their much-needed benefits. There is currently a bill in front of Congress that would extend unemployment benefits for up to 46 weeks. States with high unemployment rates, like Michigan and California, will have the power to extend benefits for up to a year.

When large companies like AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns started to crumble, the feds stepped in and either facilitated or sponsored their bailouts. The American people are faltering and need the federal government to step in and throw them a life line. African-Americans, in particular, need support. Unemployment has risen dramatically among our women. Since most of our families are run by single women, we need to work to ensure that they -- and their children -- have some income coming in while they look for work.

Lift your voice, and exercise the power you have as a voting citizen. Contact your elected officials and demand they support an extension of unemployment benefits. Tell your family and friends to do the same. In this election year, your words matter.
Judge Greg Mathis is national vice president of Rainbow PUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Source: Black America Web

No comments:

Post a Comment