Unemployment Report Requires Bold Jobs Plan from President Obama

Washington, DC — Today’s bleak unemployment numbers for August demonstrate that President Obama must put forward a big, bold program for job creation when he addresses the nation next Thursday, said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for Americas Future in response to today’s data from the Labor Department.

Hickey said, “These numbers, with no net job creation at all — and 14 million people officially unemployed — show that the economy is dead in the water.” Hickey noted that government policy, which is still focused on deficit reduction and austerity measures, forcing layoffs of teachers, firefighters and other public employees at the federal, state and local level, is systematically damaging employment and growth. This report shows that since employment peaked in September 2008, local government has lost 550,000 jobs. “The policy of our government is systematically undermining the recovery. Public sector layoffs are undermining consumer buying power, crippling the ability of the private sector to sell products and services. Clearly, President Obama must reverse this downward spiral by creating jobs directly, putting money in consumer’s pockets, and helping small and large companies to find buyers and invest in growth,” Hickey said.

Hickey renewed the call to President Obama asking him for a bold jobs plan that will put Americans back to work. “The Campaign for America’s Future on Aug. 30 joined with Rebuild the Dream, MoveOn, NOW and 80 other groups to send a letter to President Obama. The groups told Obama, “A problem this serious needs a plan to match it in scope. Tax cuts and incentives for corporations have repeatedly failed to put Americans back to work. It is time to move beyond these half measures designed to appeal to a narrow ideological minority who have repeatedly shown their unwillingness to negotiate and their disinterest in real solutions. History—and proven economics—tells us that any plan to solve our job crisis needs to be big, bold, and create jobs directly.”

Hickey said “With Labor Day around the corner, it is time for the President Obama and Congress to act. Everyone knows that Republicans in the Congress are demanding policies that are crippling growth – and they are even resisting small measures, like extending unemployment insurance and continuing Social Security the tax holiday. The President should push Republicans to vote for these small measures, which they used to support routinely but now oppose. However, President Obama must go beyond what might be able to pass today and present a bold jobs program that is big enough to revive the economy and create jobs. If he does this can rally the country and revive hope that the over 25 million unemployed or underemployed Americans will soon have new opportunities. If the President doesn’t acknowledge that we are in an unemployment crisis – and advance a serious plan to create growth and jobs – the country will lose hope and our economic crisis will only get worse.”

Note: Over the past several weeks the Campaign for America’s Future has advanced a series of proposals called Big Ideas to Get America Working. These proposals can be found at http://www.ourfuture.org/report/bigideas

The Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America’s priorities – for good jobs and a sustainable economy, and for strengthening the safety net.
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