Friday, August 9, 2013


I am indebted to Ed Rabel, that fine NBC News television journalist of yore, for pointing out this entry in the NY Times Taking Note blog by David Firestone, about the latest proposal to save taxpayers money by taking crucial services away from the most needy and vulnerable people in America: the unemployed.

Since the first requests for federal money to stimulate a faltering economy were put before Congress in late 2008, Eric Cantor has cast vote after vote that eliminated jobs and aborted attempts to create new ones.

Now he wants to take food off the family tables of the very people whose jobs he helped to kill. Anyone who knows anyone who is unemployed, or who knows any member of their families, should find Cantor's sneering cruelty hard to forgive.

Here is what has happened to employment in the United States since Cantor began his war of rigid resistance to every attempt to stimulate job growth in the private sector, even while applying the same robotic mindlessness to forcing the government to eliminate public sector jobs and services.

In January 2009, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says, 133,631,000 Americans were employed.  For July 2013, the BLS’ preliminary figure is 136,038,000.  In other numbers, the US has added 2.55 million jobs.  Good, you say.

But, America is always growing, and the common guesstimate, probably a bit on the low side, is that the country needs to add 150,000 new jobs every month just to keep pace with the population.  So, for the 55 months since Barack Obama became President, American needed to create 8.25 million jobs.  So, over the last 4 ½ years, the job creation deficit, much of it directly traceable to the votes of Eric Cantor and his Republican colleagues in the House, is 5.7 million.  That’s 5.7 million people.
But the real figure is probably higher.  The BLS estimated in January 2009, that the potential workforce was 220.5 million Americans.  Now, it says, that number for July 2013 had grown to 232.7 million, which would suggest that the real job creation deficit is 9.6 million, since Cantor and Co. started saying nothing but "No!" to President Obama .
It is the very people caught up in these statistics, the people Eruic Cantor has personally voted to exclude from the workforce, the people who most need a break feeding their families, that he wants to make sure are excluded from the Food Stamp program.

VULGARITY WARNING:  For every one of those 4.2 million unemployed recipients of Food Stamps that Eric Cantor wants forced from the rolls, I wish to invoke a piece of NYC street eloquence I overheard years ago at a City Hall news conference, from an anonymous sound technician who was accidentally kicked and asked for an apology and got verbal abuse instead: “Fuck me?" he said, his voice rising, "Fuck me? Fuck YOU, fuck me.”

Sometimes, you just gotta say it.  Rep. Cantor, I hope you hear it.


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