Senate Republicans stopped a bill that would restore emergency unemployment insurance for only three months on Tuesday.
Republicans want to end the additional help for those looking for work at a point when the government never has before because they don’t believe in it. But they can’t say that. So they say we can’t afford it.
They demanded that the extension be paid for, though no Congress ever made that demand when the long-term unemployment rate has been this high. When Democrats met that requirement, Senator Mitch McConnell insisted a vote on delaying the individual mandate to corner red state Democrats for one reason: He knew he wouldn’t get it and then Republicans could then try to blame Democrats for giving them excuse to cut off the long-term unemployed and force them to magically find jobs that don’t exist.
Republicans apparently learned two lessons during a decade when they led us into two failed wars and a depression for the working poor: We’re doing too much to help the unemployed and we need another war in the Middle East.
While Democrats have been fighting for the unemployed, they’ve been assisting the right in its effort to undermine the historic nuclear talks between the United States and Iran. They’re rushing to implement new sanctions as punishment for the Iranians being willing to negotiate. These new sanctions would likely lead to the end of negotiations and result in the collapse of the international sanctions regime that helped bring Tehran to the table.
This would dramatically increase the chances of a military conflict that would have the perverse effect of not destroying Iran’s nuclear program while uniting the Iranian people around the unelected regime, says Bloomberg‘s Jeffery Goldberg who made the “hawk” case against new sanctions on Tuesday:
And in some ways, an attack would justify Iran’s paranoia and pursuit of nuclear weapons: After all, the regime could somewhat plausibly argue, post-attack, that it needs to defend itself against further aggression. A military campaign should be considered only when everything else has failed, and Iran is at the very cusp of gaining a deliverable nuclear weapon.
America’s hawks will only accept an Iran without any nuclear program. They fear that negotiations will leave a program in place but closely monitored by the global community. And they fear allowing the negotiations to go on unfettered will increase the legitimacy of this opinion.
The rush to war with Iran is bipartisan, as was the rush to war with Iraq, which cost as thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and empowered Iran to dominate the region and advance their nuclear program.
An attempt to topple the regime in Iran would be more costly than that and an attack that would slow the nuclear program would guarantee that they would gain nuclear weapons as war rages across the region.
Eventually, we will likely face a difficult decision: containing Iran’s nuclear program through engagement or a full-scale war.
But right now the decision is easy: Should we sabotage our only chance at peace because those who want war in both countries would like us to?
If Republicans think we can afford a war in Iran but not to help the unemployed, they need to explain this — and Democrats need to stop helping them.
And as The Atlantic‘s James Fallow’s points out: this really matters so let your Senator know what you think.
[Image via Kevin Dooley | Flickr]