Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 2, 2013

Unemployment benefit cuts hurt businesses & individuals
As an employee at Freightliner, where shutdown weeks and layoffs are common, I’m very concerned with HB 4, the state legislation now sailing through our General Assembly that would severely slash unemployment insurance benefits. This would include reducing benefits from 26 to as few as 12 weeks, cutting payments by at least a third and much more.
When we are struggling, unemployment insurance helps keep our families afloat. It is not the same as a regular paycheck, but it helps us pay the rent and afford groceries. Clothes, school supplies and even doctor visits become luxuries. What money does come in every week on unemployment flows back out of our pockets and into the pockets of local business owners, generating tax revenue and supporting our community. Cutting unemployment insurance benefits would take $700 million out of the state’s economy. Hurting consumer demand is the real threat to business — not the relative pittance employers pay in unemployment insurance taxes compared to total labor costs.
Republican legislators — and let’s be honest about which party rules in Raleigh — say they want to pay off the debt in the unemployment trust fund a couple years early when they should be more concerned about North Carolina still remaining fifth highest in the nation’s jobless rate, or the 80,000 people who will automatically lose emergency federal benefits if this scheme becomes law. Joblessness is the ongoing crisis, but HB 4 makes cuts to the most critical lifeline for out-of-work families trying to get back to work.
— Russell Bennett Jr


Hypocrisy in Washington
Webster’s dictionary describes hypocrisy as a false appearance of piety and virtue. Play acting or insincerity; to feign. The best example of hypocrisy that I can imagine is staring us in the face from Washington, D.C. Both Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of hypocrisy.
President Obama promised to fix the economy and help the middle class. Instead, all he says is bleed the rich and feed the poor. He wants to create a nation completely dependent on government. He hugged the victims of Hurricane Sandy and promised to help them, then flew off to Hawaii. Some are still living in tents but he got their votes. He always pushes the blame onto someone else.
Susan Rice got on TV and took the heat for Benghazi with the lies about a video, possibly to distract the nation about a gun shipment to Turkey and Al Qaeda. If you’re fortunate enough to have a job, your tax dollars go to such things as bailouts for General Motors. He sees fit to allow GE to pay little to no federal income tax, while the middle class sees a big tax hike in their paychecks this year.
He promised to transform America, which he is doing, but he did not add he meant from capitalism to socialism, perhaps even communism. In 1995, Sen. Diane Feinstein testified that she had a gun permit, owned a handgun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it if needed. Now in 2013, she’s pushing a gun ban bill to rid us of many types of guns.
In Hillary Clinton’s fabulous “soap opera” acting in front of Congress, she asked “What difference does it make” how or why four Americans were killed in Benghazi? It doesn’t matter how or why, she said, but we must prevent it happening again. How can we prevent it from happening again, without knowing how or why it happened the first time?
— Doloris Pender