The unemployed can get a job if they don’t like it

What might the unemployed dislike? For one thing, it is the inability of Congress to pass H.R.4213 — American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010. The impediment: The Senate cannot pass this bill until it finishes its battle over the pork contained therein, as Open Congress explains:

The problem is that the unemployment benefits are attached to a "tax extenders" package containing dozens of unrelated tax breaks for industries, some designed to spur job creation and some that look outright porky. It contains stuff like a $6 billion research and development tax credit, an $868 million tax credit for biodiesel manufacturers, a $46 million credit for Hollywood filmmakers, a $131 million credit for Puerto Rican rum distillers and much more along these lines. You can download a full summary from the House Ways and Means Committee.

As Ryan Grim and Shahien Nasiripour at Huffington Post reported recently, these kinds of tax extender grab-bag bills generally pass through Congress easily. "Extending the tax-breaks each year keeps them off the long-term books," they write. "And because most of the credits expire each year, lobbyists can argue to their business clients that their services need to be kept on retainer at all times. And members of Congress win because the lobbyists continuously shower them with corporate money."

But this time around, with anxiety about the federal deficit running high and a very contentious mid-term season quickly approaching, the extenders bill is running into problems. In order to lessen the bills impact on the deficit, the Democrats have included a number of corporate tax increases and tax-loophole closers in the bill, and the battle now is between different industries and the lawmakers who represent them.

The upshot: The unemployed, who lack a strong voice in Congress, must suffer until the members of Congress and the lobbyists who they serve reach deals that they can live with.

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