The drama that played out in Washington D.C. as 2012 came to an end resulted in a much needed compromise that averted the so-called "fiscal cliff." Neither Republicans nor Democrats got what they wanted, and that's what compromise is all about.
The bigger picture, though, is still muddied. President Obama insisted on raising taxes on the wealthy, and the people wanted that to happen -- we get that. In fact, Mitt Romney's reluctance to embrace the concept likely cost him the presidency. But the government must rein in spending in order to keep the deficit from growing. President Obama is already campaigning to raise the debt ceiling, a sure indication his belt tightening stance is more illusion than substance.
On the other hand, no one really wants to see Social Security and the other social programs take a hit, especially when defense spending continues to gobble up massive amounts of tax dollars.
One thing we think most of us will agree on -- it's time to get back to work. Unemployment insurance was and is a noble concept. It enables those who lose their jobs an income while they get back on their feet. It used to be available for 26 weeks – presumably long enough to find another job. Under Obama, though, unemployment has become a career. Many people have collected for almost two years, and the president insisted we renew benefits for the two million or so unemployed whose benefits were set to expire. At his insistence, the benefits were extended for another whole year.
We submit unemployment insurance isn't a career decision. Consider that Americans all over the country – especially here on the East End -- are bemoaning the Latino influx, claiming the newcomers are taking jobs Americans used to have.
This is true to a certain extent, but it only tells part of the story. Many of the jobs in question are those that pay close to minimum wage. They are out there – just look at the want ads. According to the New York Times there are an abundance of jobs in the service industry employers have trouble filling.
Here's the problem: these professional unemployment collectors don't want a job -- they want an executive position at the same salary they once were paid. But guess what? A lot of those jobs are gone for good, vanished in the new economy.
The rest of us foot the bill for those who collect -- hundreds of billions of dollars. But the cost is even more significant -- for each person who is on the dole could be working, and thus contributing to the economy by paying taxes and Social Security.
Let's be honest. If you have been collecting unemployment for two years and are able bodied and healthy, you're not looking for work -- you're mooching off the rest of us. Count us out of the scam. There are things more important than a free check, like dignity and self-esteem. In this country, with a job comes the opportunity of advancement. That's how many of our forefathers carved a place for themselves.
Leave the free checks for the disabled and the elderly. Every able-bodied citizen should work. There are jobs available -- grab one before some hard working immigrant who still believes in the American dream does.