Rep. Cantor Throws Young, Unemployed Under The Bus To Protect Rich People From Taxes

August 05, 2011 3:21 pm ET — Kate Conway

This morning Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) appeared on CNBC to further put a partisan spin on today's jobs numbers. Touting Republicans' proposals — despite the GOP's demonstrated hostility towards enacting actual job-creating legislation — and slamming Democratic policies, Cantor said that "we've got to look at the policies that actually affect small business people and the middle class."

But when host Jim Cramer asked about unemployment benefits, one of the most effective ways to stimulate the economy and directly assist out-of-work middle-class people, Cantor scoffed at the idea of "pumping up" benefits. "I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job," he said.

CRAMER: One of the things that I hear you say— obviously you're very concerned about unemployment, which is spot-on, so I imagine therefore you are certainly for extending unemployment benefits given the chaotic situation for most of the workforce.

CANTOR: Jim, the most important thing we can do for somebody who's unemployed is to see if we can get them a job. I mean that's what needs to be the focus. For too long in Washington now we've been worried about pumping up the stimulus monies, pumping up unemployment benefits, and to a certain extent you've got states in which you can get unemployment for almost two years. And I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job.

When Cramer tried to clarify whether or not Cantor was indicating that he would oppose the extension of unemployment benefits, Cantor avoided a direct answer. "What I have said all along, Jim," he responded, "if we're going to spend money in Washington we'd better start to make choices and we've got to set priorities." Watch:

Between today's derision for the plight of the unemployed and yesterday's admission that promises made on programs like Medicare "frankly, are not going to be kept for many," Cantor's priorities are becoming pretty clear: He's willing to throw those under age 55 and the unemployed under the bus, regardless of the recession, in order to protect tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.

The GOP is trying to sell the public on its extreme spending cuts by presenting it as a tough choice — if citizens don't relinquish their rights to the promised old-age health insurance they've been working towards their whole life, or if they don't harden their hearts against those unable to find work, the nation will dissolve into irreparable bankruptcy. But that's a hard line to swallow from the party so determined to funnel more money into the hands of top earners that they nearly sent the country into fiscal calamity by holding the debt ceiling hostage.