Thursday, March 11, 2010

Barbour Fiddles While Mississippi Burns

The federal government today released its states based unemployment figures for January. As reported by Chris Kromm in Facing South - a blog from the Institute for Southern Studies - the South is suffering. Eight out of 13 Southern states, including Mississippi, have unemployment figures below the national average. A year ago, Mississippi had 8.2% unemployment. Now it's 10.9%. The national average was 7.7% and 9.7 %. Our neighboring state of Louisiana is doing better with 5.7% and 7.4%. The only southern state doing better than Louisiana is Virginia.

Most people know what the President is doing to bring down unemployment - and we undoubtedly have differing opinions about his approach. But how many of you are aware of what our Mississippi representatives are doing?

Right now there's a pissing match going on in the State House. It's so bad it made CBS news. At stake is $52 million dollars in federal money for unemployment. Governor Barbour refuses to accept this money to help out the unemployed in Mississippi. After all, there are rumors he's running for President (what a joke!) and he has to polish his teabagger credentials. What does he care about the poor and the unemployed? Absolutely nothing, as he has shown time and time again.

What's his excuse? He doesn't want to pay unemployment for part time workers which is required in the federal program. Hello, Haley - come down to earth where the rest of us live. Why do you think people work part time jobs? Because they're lazy? No, these people are, by definition, workers - not bums. They may work part time because that's the only work they can find. Or because they're mothers with small children who can't work full time. Or maybe they put several part time jobs together to make ends meet. If any of these people lose their jobs, their families are destitute. And part time jobs are the most unstable of jobs and rarely offer any benefits. People are hurting, Haley - and they need help to get through these hard times.

This time, the Democrats in the State House of Representatives are playing tough. They aren't approving the authorization for the State Department of Employment Security, which administers the unemployment program, unless the Governor agrees to accept the federal assistance. If the agency is not authorized, the federal government will take over. I know you'll love that, Haley!

Guess we'll see who wins this game of chicken. While thousands of Mississippians are suffering big time, our Emperor is fiddling.

1 comment:

Casey Ann said...

We have the 11th highest unemployment in the country.