Two Can Play the Extortion Game in Congress — Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive

Two Can Play the Extortion Game in Congress

By Matthew Rothschild, December 6, 2010

Before the Democrats cave in to the Republicans’ extortion gambit for the rich, the least the Dems could do is to bargain harder.

Not just for the long-term unemployed this go round, but for a permanent extension of unemployment benefits, especially given the no-end-in-sight reality of no jobs.

But let’s not stop there.

Let’s actually create jobs for these 15 million Americans and more. The Dems should propose that the government hire the unemployed to put up solar panels on every government building in the country, and repair the bridges, and fix the roads.

Let’s put that on the bargaining table in exchange for tax cuts for the rich.

And while we’re at it, let’s put on the table raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, which 80 percent of the American public support.

And let’s put on the table a one-year moratorium on foreclosures.

And let’s put on the table a $200 increase for everyone on Social Security, whose incomes have been frozen over the last two years.

And let’s put on the table, as economist James Galbraith recommends, immediately lowering, nor raising, the retirement, so as to free up jobs for younger people.

And let’s put on the table providing more funds for the states, so they don’t have to lay people off or kill people, as they’re doing now in Arizona with Medicaid patients on the transplant list.

How about a little push back here? How about testing just how desperate Republicans are to reward their wealthy base?

My hunch is they’re pretty desperate.

So rather than have the Republicans extort benefits for the top 2 percent, let’s extort benefits for everyone else, and let’s get this economy going in the process.

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