Archive for October 11th, 2010

Dear… Series: Dear Members Of The U.S. Congress

Have you ever want to tell someone something yet you just couldn’t bring yourself to say it to their face? Well this is my place to do just that. Perhaps its too late and they happen to be deceased already. Maybe because the odds of me meeting a celebrity are few and far between or maybe the people I’d like to communicate with are out of reach for whatever reason. There are many reasons for starting this series and as it evolves maybe I’ll figure it out and you can help.

I have a pet peeve that I have been dealing with in my head. I am quite sure my friends back in Washington are tired of hearing me complain even though the issue is effecting them. The Dear… Series this time around deals with the unemployed Americans and the apathy Congress is showing in addressing this massive problem.

Dear Members of the United States Congress,

I was sitting alone a few weeks ago reading a few blogs and I came across a blog with a post about the Philippine hostage drama. I began cogitating on the meaning of the word ‘hostage’. Still on the same blog, I read a post on the state of the economy and the millions of unemployed who have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

They are called the 99ers. The post addressed the issue of adding a fifth tier of emergency benefits. Members of Congress, are you aware that “The number of unemployed persons (14.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.6 percent) were little changed in August. From May through August, the jobless rate remained in the range of 9.5 to 9.7 percent” (source, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

I’m know that with that many people and a significant number of long term unemployed, children are the ones suffering the most. The parents that are unemployed have children who need new clothes, food, and other basic creature comforts. The American workers have exhausted their compensation, employers are not hiring and you are holding those people hostage.

In my world hostage-holders are criminals. There is money available for NASA. There was money for Haiti and Chile. We are fighting two wars and spending billions of dollars doing so. All very good and noble causes, save NASA and I’m not suggesting to stop funding those programs.

Charity begins at home and if we have money to help the hurting people of the world, we should undeniably and wholeheartedly have money to give to our own. They have earned it by working all of their lives.

Hey, here’s an idea, let’s fine BP for all the mess they made of the Gulf of Mexico and use that money to help our unemployed. I might be oversimplifying the situation, but there is money some where that can be used. There is still stimulus money left over that can be used for the cause. Why the debating, why the stalling. I’ve heard people say that since the situation hasn’t probably hit your homes then it isn’t a huge priority for Congress.

Why aren’t American citizens as important as a year long trip to a barren planet? People are not eating. People are being evicted from their apartments and put out of their homes. People are losing their cars, their dignity and who suffers the most? Again, it’s the children. Mars will still be there in a decade or two. Cruise the heavens later and help the children today.

Tom Baker

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