Lost in the drama in DC is that many of the programs being cut or eliminated affect real people. One such program is extended unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. While Wall Street has rebounded the economy for the 99% remains depressed and stagnant.

Extended unemployment is all that is keeping some families from poverty and now the program is set to end at the end on the year.

More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn’t act. An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.

But without congressional action, the program will expire at the end of December, meaning the most anyone could get would be six months of unemployment benefits. In some states, it would be even less.

Congressional action? These people are in trouble.

Remember we are in the age of austerity, everyone has to make sacrifices – including people who can’t find a job. Because nothing will help them more than putting more financial strain on them. Instead of looking for a job please obsess over making the rent or buying food for your family.

Democrats say they hope a benefits extension can be added to must-pass legislation before the end of the year.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans will take a look at any plan Democrats come up with, but adds: “We think it would be better for them to focus on helping get our economy moving again so more of the unemployed can find jobs.”

Not hard to read between the lines on that one – renewal is DOA in the House.

It seems the establishment parties are counting on the American people passively accepting the destruction of the middle class with only modest opposition. As the Dow and poverty hit historic highs together the push for austerity grinds on in Washington – truly a divided nation.

Photo by FDR Presidential Library under public domain.