During this season of joy, I find myself more aware than maybe ever before of the people in our community who are in need of great comfort this Christmas. Whether it is a mother who is struggling to pay her utility bill, or a father who is dealing with the loss of his family’s health insurance plan, this week I have been fortunate to work with many people from our community on ways we can help the neediest among us and hopefully make life a little more comfortable for them.This is coming from the same guy who was complaining how he couldn't make it on his $174,000 salary and had to drive - oh, the horror! - a used minivan!
Building Effective Awareness: A year ago I sat down with many of the pastors in Wausau and asked them, “What are the needs in our community?” I was taken back when all of them commented on the issues of hunger and homelessness in our community. I think I’m like a lot of people in our community who don’t know the issues that a lot of people who are having a tough time are facing. I wanted to do what I could with my team to make sure we can make a difference with those who have fallen on hard times and make sure we can collaborate together on community resources. Also collaborate on the Federal and state side to make sure resources don’t just flow to the urban parts of the country but can actually come to the parts of the country that have real problems but don’t have huge staffs to cut through the red-tape.
But it shouldn't come as a surprise to Duffy at all. Scott Walker's agenda of austerity has been repeatedly shown to be an utter failure, causing unemployment to soar across the state. Some of the highest unemployment rates are in Duffy's own district. For him to be surprised that there were poor people and they were hurting shows just how out of touch he is with what's going on.
But as with all things Duffy, there is more. There is always more.
Duffy is also a raging hypocrite.
Even as people were reading the piece of tripe he sent out declaring his compassion, he was also skipping out of Washington, D.C. without lifting a finger to address the 2.2 million Americans who were about to be cut off of unemployment compensation. Because of Duffy's inaction, 24,000 Wisconsinites have were cut off of their unemployment compensation on Saturday, with another 42,000 losing their lifeline in the first half of 2014. This number includes the 2,770 people in his new hometown of Wausau that just found themselves cut off.
Robert Mentzer, regional opinion editor for Gannett Central Wisconsin Media, wrote a compelling column discussing the folly of letting these benefits come to an end, including this snippet:
“We shouldn’t let emergency federal benefits expire,” wrote Michael R. Strain, a think-tank scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, on the conservative site, “because the same fundamental logic that led to their being (correctly) enacted still holds today: The labor market is still in bad shape, the economy is still weak, there are three times as many unemployed workers as job openings.”So now we see that not only is Duffy clueless and classless, he's a major spendthrift as well.
Unemployment benefits require the worker to be available and able to work and to be actively searching for a job. Cutting off the benefit isn’t going to magically force all these people to find jobs. The jobs aren’t there. Instead, Strain and others argue, it will cause many workers to leave the labor force permanently, making them the problem of public and private social services agencies.
Cutting unemployment benefits, in other words, is a very expensive way to save money.
Fortunately, the good people of the 7th Congressional District can make a change for the better in 2014.
Kelly Westlund is running to unseat Duffy. With Westlund, the people of the 7th CD would have their voices heard in Washington and would have someone fighting for them. That is a much needed change from what they have now - just another Koch Brothers owned sockpuppet.
*T = Teapublican