Is that a green bean in the napkin?
Moms are good at sniffing out trickery. We've detected green beans stuffed in napkins, ratted out feigned illnesses with our trusty thermometers, and we're pretty sure the dog didn't eat that missing homework. So, when some of our elected leaders tell us that they can afford to extend tax cuts for the rich, but can't afford to continue unemployment benefits for our millions of families searching for work, we're a bit suspicious.
According to most estimates, extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires would increase the deficit by an estimated 700 billion dollars over the next ten years.  In contrast, keeping the emergency federal unemployment benefits programs in place for another year for the millions of families who are still desperately looking for work would cost only a small fraction of that.
Can you see why we're a bit skeptical? The math doesn't add up. The issue appears not to be fiscal responsibility, but a question of which families are going to benefit from government tax and spending policy.
*Tell Members of Congress to get their priorities straight. Sign this petition to extend unemployment insurance for families struggling to find work.
This week Congress may be voting on whether to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and also debating whether to extend the federal unemployment insurance programs that have been so essential to keeping so many families afloat.
So it's time for us to get busy! We'll be delivering these petitions and stories from moms and dads across the nation directly to members of Congress along with napkins decorated with real green beans.
And if you can give a donation to help us cover the cost of the delivery to Congress, that would be a big help too!
Here's one of the stories we're delivering from a MomsRising member from Texas:
"I was RIFed [laid off] from a company for whom I had worked for over 16 years as a highly compensated individual producer. I was shocked. The credit card industry closed in on me and my family was soon forced into bankruptcy. Being around 50 and in Chapter 13 made it impossible for me to find another job. Then the bottom fell out of the housing market. My house was worth $100,000.00 less than I owed on it. I kept thinking I might find a job and trying to get a modification. I exhausted my savings, including my retirement trying to keep everything going because it was so hard to believe that I would be unable to find another job either writing or teaching (I am also a certified teacher). Now my home loan has been modified but if I lose my unemployment I will lose my home. I am finally starting to get more interviews. Eventually I'm sure someone will hire me. But if there is another housing collapse because people lose their unemployment, the economy will start to fall and everyone will stop hiring again. I am getting foreclosure sale notices in my email again. I am frightened. I have three children still in public school. They are in the gifted and talented program. Are we going to throw their futures away too? This is just one story."
These stories of families who are living on the edge demonstrate that extending unemployment benefits, is not only good for families who are struggling to find work, it helps all of us by strengthening the economy. Unemployed workers spend their unemployment insurance benefits because they have to in order to survive. That means that unemployment insurance benefits go right back into the economy, bolstering local businesses and saving jobs.
According to a report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, every dollar spent on benefits increases the domestic product by $1.60. "A failure to extend the unemployment insurance program could hamper the fragile recovery," the report said. It predicts that consumer spending will fall by $50 billion over the next year if benefits are not extended, and that economic growth will be reduced by 0.4 percentage points by February 2011. 
Contrary to some of chattering you might hear on cable news, unemployment benefits aren't a disincentive to look for work. In fact, workers have to prove they are actively looking for work to keep collecting their benefits. Thus, there's every incentive to find work, especially since the benefits average just $293 a week, which covers less than half of the average family's expenses for food, housing and transportation.
Take a minute to sign our petition to continue critical federal unemployment insurance benefits and forward this message on to friends and family.
Let's make sure Congress is straight with the American people about fiscal responsibility and does the right thing for middle class families, and for the nation, by reauthorizing the federal unemployment insurance benefits program and keeping our economic recovery on track.
Together, we are a powerful voice for families.
P.S. To hear many more perspectives on why Congress needs to extend unemployment insurance, see the MomsRising blog-a-thon http://www.momsrising.org/blog/standing-up-for-families-with-nowhere-to-turn-a-blog-a-thon-on-unemployment-insurance/
 Obama opposes permanent extension of tax cuts for rich, Reuters.
 Extending the Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefit Program, Report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, November 2010