Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Defending The Unemployed

In the last week or so, I've been surprised by the amount of grumbling I've heard about unemployment benefits. A lot of folks are disappointed and dismayed by the extension of unemployment benefits that provide coverage, in some cases, for as long as 99 weeks.

Those who are upset by the additional payouts put forth a strong case for their opposition. They are correct in saying that we, as a nation, can hardly afford it. It is fact that extending eligibility those additional weeks will make for a staggering increase in an already burgeoning--and frightening national debt.

I respect the understandable position of those opposed, but I come down on the side of the proponents of the legislation last week that provided for the additional benefits. I see the issue in the light of compassion and common sense.

How do we turn our backs on millions of Americans who are out of work through no fault of their own, and for whom there will be no jobs until we climb out of the great recession? While nearly ten percent of the country is unemployed, some ninety percent of the population does have a job. Nine out of ten Americans are blessed with employment, and they, "but for the grace of God", could be the one out of ten. Can't nine Americans help a tenth countryman through hard times?

It's important to remember, also, that when congress extended benefits for the unemployed, legislators also extended tax breaks for the super rich. That begs another question. Will the super rich put their windfall monies back into the economy? Most certainly, those on unemployment will--just to survive.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Heroes Twice Over

Last week, one of our readers alerted us to an article, about organ donations, that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times. Recalling columns we have written on the subject, our reader correctly thought that the story might be of interest. Subsequently, we found it covered, also, by the Stars and Stripes newspaper, and the Associated Press.

All Americans who are killed while defending our country are heroes; and some, who give their lives, give again after their deaths. Over the last five years, some three dozen soldiers, killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, have donated a total of 141 organs--saving approximately four people each, after their own deaths.

Due to time constraints, precluding the transport of organs from combat zones to destinations as far away as North America, the donated organs were made available to desperately ill people in Europe. Here in America, countless members of the military, at bases throughout the country, are on record as organ donors.