Democratic Underground

Conservatism Without Compassion
October 1, 2001
by Art Richardson

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On Friday, Congress approved the bailout for the airline industry to help it recover. The bill included a provision allowing airline executives to keep collecting their large salaries, which angered Democrats. Democrats were infuriated when Republicans refused to include a bill to help workers as part of the initial bailout bill, and criticized their own leaders for agreeing to move the legislation to the floor without an employee assistance measure.

Now the Democrats want to provide aid to workers who recently lost their jobs in the beleaguered airline industry. Democrats are pushing for a bill that would help these workers by expanding unemployment benefits, easing the continuation of health insurance and providing job training.

The Democrats cast this as the logical follow-up to the approval of a $15-billion bill to shore up the airline industry, which was whisked through the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support. "The model of thought there, and quite frankly, the model of thought that says we need to go out and extend unemployment benefits and health insurance benefits and so forth is not I think one that is commensurate with the American spirit here," said Representative Dick Armey of Texas, the majority leader.

He said a higher priority was to pass an economic stimulus bill. What he is really saying is the hell with the workers, which are mostly UNION members who vote Democratic. The Republicans took care of the stockholders from taking a bath while the airline industry is suffering under the fallout of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Representative Tom DeLay, the majority whip from Texas, seemed no more enthusiastic about the Democratic plan, which was first proposed last Friday when Congress approved the $15 billion airline industry bailout. The idea was rejected by Republicans in a late- night negotiation session. "Sometimes people jump out too quickly on an issue," Mr. DeLay said, referring to Democrats. "They want to develop an issue."

Yes, Mr. Delay, the Democrats sure are playing politics with this one. Just what sort of politics are the Democrats playing here, Mr. DeLay? That the Democrats want to help the people who actually work for a living. Are you worried about the cost? You had no problem giving 15 billion Social Security trust fund dollars to the airline industry. And I am sure that you will have no problem giving more of our Social Security trust fund dollars to other industries that claim to be financially hurt by the attack and are your largest campaign contributors.

No matter how you slice it, when it comes down to brass tacks the Republicans always show their true colors. The Republican party is the party of the rich white man. You can say compassionate conservatism, put minorities on display at your convention, and have lots of photo-ops with minority children.

But when push comes to shove, the Republican party always votes for the rich white man. We will just watch as you bring bills to the Senate and House. They will not benefit the working man but will line the pockets of you wealthy campaign contributors at the expense of the working man.

Well, this Democrat says shame on you for turning your back on the American working man while you line the pockets of the wealthy.