A new advertising campaign from three major unions is targeting key congresspeople with a clear message: the way to reduce the deficit is by “creating jobs and growing our economy” not by “cutting programs that families rely on most.”
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA) effort is the first major salvo that expands the debate, forcing a debate over whether we need jobs or cuts, instead of a cramped discussion over whose cuts are better.
The language is actually in sync with President Obama’s. He led off his Nov. 8 remarks by saying:
… at a time when our economy’s still recovering from the great recession, our top priority has to be jobs and growth. That’s the focus of the plan that I talked about during the campaign…
…If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue. And that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes…
…That’s the only way we can still afford to train our workers, or help our kids pay for college, or make sure that good jobs and clean energy or high tech manufacturing don’t end up in countries like China.
Now, already I’ve put forward a detailed plan, that allows us to make these investments while reducing our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.
That plan which Obama talked about the campaign was the American Jobs Act, investing more than $400 billion to create jobs in infrastructure and education.
We can spend that up front and still meet long-term deficit reduction targets, so long as we also raise taxes on the wealthy, cut wasteful military spending and — without needlessly cutting benefits — responsibly control health care costs.
The President’s emphasis on jobs and growth hasn’t received much media attention yet. With this new ad campaign, that may change.