As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Let Them Eat Crawfish Cake

Kicking off his 2012 Presidential campaign, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has decided to screw over poor people.

When President Obama signed the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act last week, it included three different provisions to benefit unemployed workers. The first provided funding to states that allowed for a $25 per week increase in benefits. The second extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program which gives 20 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals “who had already collected all regular state benefits,” while the third provision widened the pool of people eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Today, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to oppose changing state law to allow his Lousiana citizens to qualify for the second two unemployment provisions. Jindal said the state would only be accepting money to increase the unemployment insurance payments for those who currently qualify for unemployment insurance.

In all, Jindal turned away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents.

I know a big state on the West Coast that can use it.

For the most part, these "principled" Southern governors have been talking the talk about rejecting stimulus funds but not walking the walk. Jindal is sufficiently crazy enough to go all the way. And of course, he didn't reject the new homebuyers' benefit or anything that would hit someone of less modest means, he rejected aid for the desperate. Unemployment benefits are among the fastest forms of stimulus there are, with really big multipliers, because people in that situation spend the money. But it's considered good strategy now in the Republican Party to try and sink the economy, and it's always been good strategy to harm the poor at the expense of the rich. Jim Clyburn is right here, though I think it's a function of class and not quite race.

The highest-ranking African-American member of Congress on Friday accused Southern governors who oppose economic stimulus spending of indifference to the plight of poor blacks who might benefit from the federal money.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, amplified earlier statements that the governors' hesitation in accepting stimulus money had insulted him because "these four states are in the heart of the black belt."

Clyburn singled out Republican Govs. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi for criticism.

This isn't about traditionally poor communities anymore. Due to the length and breadth of this recession, middle class professionals are now showing up at food banks. And Bobby Jindal wants to make sure that they get no help from the state that they could use to get themselves back on their feet and ready to contribute to the economy again.

Good Presidential material.

...if Jindal wants to really make a name for himself, he could reject federal support to rebuild New Orleans. Now THAT would make him look like a tiger!

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