When I ran for mayor of Baltimore, my campaign was as simple as it gets: jobs, jobs, jobs. In an economic climate that has millions of Marylanders struggling to pay their bills, it makes no sense that Congress would forgo policies that offer at least some form of relief to the citizens it is elected to represent ("Extended unemployment benefits expire for more than 25,000 Marylanders," Dec. 27).
Allowing the much needed long-term unemployment benefits of millions of Americans to expire has to be the most disastrous misstep taken by Congress in 2013. Beyond the polarizing partisanship that led to a governmental shutdown and the failure to pass a sensible farm bill, such inaction will have a devastating effect on not only the overall economy but on crime as well.
When the more than 25,000 Marylanders — and over 5,000 Baltimore City residents — see their benefits expire they will have no choice but to take matters in their own hands, robbing and stealing to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
Couple that loss of income with the antiquated and costly water billing system in Baltimore, and we'll see a "perfect storm" that ends up costing taxpayers more in the end.
Increased crime coupled with decreased revenue for the citizenry and the small businesses who benefit from the sale of products and goods equals a ravaged community that will turn its back on the very system that was designed to assist them, but which lately has done nothing but fail them.
Frank M. Conaway Sr., Baltimore
The writer is the clerk of the Circuit Courts for Baltimore City.
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