Chronically unemployed Americans have waited for months for Congress to extend unemployment benefits–at a time when the economy is simply not vibrant enough to create new jobs at the rate we need. Every week, tens of thousands of workers are losing their benefits, as they look, and look, and look, for work.
The causes of the sluggish economy are undoubtedly many, and open to debate among people on all sides. What seems to me to be less open to debate is whether or not we should, as a society, help our neighbors survive.
It seems that shortly Congress will act. But in the meantime, so many workers–looking night and day for work–have either lost benefits (which only help them survive, not get ahead) or have lived in excruciating anxiety that they will lose them before they find employment.
I am grateful Congress is acting, because a nation is judged, in Gospel terms I believe, by how it treats the most vulnerable of its citizens.
Of course, we need to control spending. But why so often do we seem to do so at the cost of the well-being of those who can least afford it rather than those who have plenty to spare?