The powers that be in Washington are playing a risky game of brinksmanship with Americans' finances and the nation's economy.
Our elected leaders are haggling over extensions of unemployment benefits and the Bush-era tax cuts, which are all on the verge of expiring. While the long-term jobless have the most to lose, all taxpayers have much at stake.
Ideally, Congress should continue the unemployment checks, plus the income tax cuts only for the middle class. That would help those who need it most, give the biggest boost to the still-struggling economy and be less draining on the federal treasury.
The unemployment benefits start expiring this week. Without action, about 2 million jobless Americans – about 454,000 of them in California – would lose their weekly benefits by year's end.
Without a vote to extend tax cuts for the middle class, families who earn $250,000 or less a year – about 98 percent of American households, including 315,000 in Sacramento – would pay more starting Jan. 1.
Emboldened by their November election triumph, Republicans – including Reps. Dan Lungren of Gold River and Tom McClintock of Elk Grove – are holding out. They want to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the richest.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.