CAF Endorses Warren Bill Easing Tuition Burden On Students

Washington—The Campaign for America’s Future has thrown its support behind the student loan relief bill introduced on Tuesday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

CAF co-director Robert L. Borosage released the following statement:

“There are nearly 40 million Americans with outstanding student loan debt, which now averages $29,400 per graduate. That total increases with the rising costs of tuition, even at public colleges and universities, and by the failure of our own government to address college affordability.”

“These cruel debts are forcing a generation to put off saving, purchasing a home and even beginning a family. All agree that college education is a necessity, not a luxury in the modern world. It is a disgrace that in the U.S. it is becoming less and less affordable as it becomes more necessary. That is why we are enthusiastically endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bill, which would allow borrowers with existing student loan debt to refinance at the same rate current undergraduates receive, currently 3.86 percent.”

“Homeowners can refinance their homes. A car loan can be had for under 3 percent. Yet college graduates are paying interest rates of nearly 7 percent or higher on existing undergraduate loans, and are unable to refinance.”

“We hope her colleagues in the Senate and the members of the House see how Senator Warren’s bill will brighten the future of millions of borrowers while at the same time energizing the U.S. economy.”

Worse Than Expected Jobs Report Calls For “Bold and Immediate Action”

The March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls for “bold and immediate action” to put people to work and address the needs of the long-term unemployed, Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage said Friday.

The report showed lower-than-expected jobs growth of 192,000 in March, which Borosage noted means that “there are still fewer jobs now than there were in December 2007 before the Great Recession.”

Borosage called for “extended support for the long-term unemployed” and “bold steps to put people to work on work that needs to be done: service corps for the young, a big infrastructure program to rebuild and modernize the country, aid to states to rehire teachers, steps to make child care affordable and extend preschool to all.”

Borosage’s full statement is below. His post also appears on the Campaign for America’s Future’s website, OurFuture.org.

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The March jobs report – 192,000 jobs with the unemployment rate remaining at 6.7 percent – is simply more of the same: an economy growing too slowly to make a major dent in continued mass unemployment.

This is the 49th straight month of private jobs creation, as the White House will report. The unemployment rate has fallen from its 2009 height of 10 percent.

But there are still fewer jobs now than there were in December 2007 before the Great Recession, even as the population has grown. The employment-to-population ratio remained unchanged this month at 58.9 percent, far below pre-recession levels. Long-term unemployment, at 3.7 million, changed little, and remains at historically elevated heights. Jobs growth continues to be concentrated in lower-wage jobs – temporary help services, service in restaurants and bars.

Mass unemployment produces human tragedy, increases in suicides, cancers, divorces and depression. It translates into stagnant wages. The optimism of the young is crushed. Homes are lost. Families divided. This is also a tragedy for the nation, as its potential for growth is eroded. We spend money on misery rather than investing in promise.

Inside the Beltway, the tendency is to see this tragedy as the new normal. The Federal Reserve is “tapering” off its extraordinary purchases of securities, although Fed chair Janet Yellen continues to raise alarms about employment. The Congress remains committed to austerity budgets, costing jobs rather than stimulating them. Federal government employment dropped, and is down 85,000 jobs over the course of the year.

We need bold and immediate action. Extended support for the long-term unemployed should be immediately reinstated. The Congress should turn from austerity to bold steps to put people to work on work that needs to be done: service corps for the young, a big infrastructure program to rebuild and modernize the country, aid to states to rehire teachers, steps to make child care affordable and extend preschool to all.

Ironically, those concerned that America is too far in debt should be arguing for, not against, bold action now. Austerity in these conditions only slows growth, making deficit reduction more difficult. The Congressional Budget Office has just added about $1 trillion to its projected deficits because it has lowered its estimates of America’s growth potential. The most sophisticated economic analysis concludes that increasing government spending now will help generate the growth that actually reduces deficits and debt in the long term.

Trade Policy Needs A “Root-To-Branch” Reassessment

Campaign for America’s Future Calls For A National Commission To Forge A New Globalization Strategy

Washington – Campaign for America’s Future Co-Director Robert Borosage today called on the Obama administration to abandon the “outmoded and failed mold” it is using to negotiate a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and instead create a commission that would forge the path for new trade policies suited for the 21st century.

“Rather than trying desperately to sell another round of treaties with dubious promises, evanescent benefits, and exaggerated claims, the administration should be launching a root-to-branch evaluation necessary to define a very different direction for the country,” Borosage wrote in an essay on OurFuture.org

Citing President Obama’s recent statements that he had “a pen and a phone” that he would use to overcome obstacles to his legislative priorities, Borosage said, “Nothing is more imperative than to use that pen and phone to convene a national commission on America’s global economic strategy. Convene the best representatives of global corporations, banks, unions, consumers and environmentalists who understand that we can’t continue down the same road and drive a review. Legislators might sensibly set up a joint special committee of Congress to parallel the president’s initiative.”

The Campaign for America’s Future has been a leading critic of attempts to fast-track through Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition to extensive commentary on its blog and online actions, the organization is launching transpacificpartnership.org as a resource for people seeking more information on the treaty.

Read the full statement: http://ourfuture.org/20140220/fast-track-to-nowhere-americas-failed-trade-policy