Did you see the news this morning? All signs point to recession.
Congress and the President are racing to pass a stimulus package. Here's the problem:
The President's plan--tax breaks for corporations and rebate checks for the well-off--isn't just morally wrong. It's based on discredited "trickle down" theories and it won't work.1
But there's tremendous pressure on Democrats to accept the President's priorities just to get something passed. Negotiations are happening right now, and Congress needs to hear from you right away!
We need to demand a progressive stimulus package--one that puts money into the hands of people who are feeling the squeeze (who, incidentally, will spend it fastest). One that funds public infrastructure projects that will create new jobs, make our economy more competitive, and reduce our dependence on oil. One that will actually solve the problem.
Can you sign our petition to Congress? Clicking here will add your name:
The petition reads: "Congress must quickly pass a stimulus package that helps those who need it the most and will spend it the fastest. And it should include public investments that will create jobs and move us toward a 21st century, clean energy economy."
A leading economist at NYU says "We're facing the risk of a systemic financial crisis."2 The mortgage, credit card, and auto loan industries are all in trouble. The stock market is tanking as we speak. On top of all that, we're hemorrhaging $2 billion a week in Iraq.3
The "Iraq Recession" is here.
Yet Bush's proposal is just another kind of trickle-down economics. His plan gives little or no help to people who make less than $40,000 a year, and families of four making less than $24,950 would get nothing--even though those are the very folks who would spend a little extra cash in their pockets.
According to a top economic think tank, the Republican plan would do nothing to help about 65 million Americans. "This approach fails on two counts. It omits or partly omits those who need the help. And it omits the tens of millions of people who are living paycheck to paycheck and who would be most likely to quickly spend every dollar they can get."4
Bush's own Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress that "putting money into the hands of households and firms that would spend it in the near term" would be more effective than other short-term fixes or tax rebates for the wealthy.5
We need to get help into the hands of those who need it. That means making sure tax rebates go to working people, not millionaires, extending unemployment benefits, sending money to the states so they don't have to cut back programs for average people, and fully funding energy assistance programs for the low-income families struggling to heat their homes as oil prices rise.6
And, with skyrocketing oil prices driving the recession, we need public infrastructure investments that create jobs in the short-term, and move us toward a 21st century, clean energy economy in the long-term. We should invest in energy efficiency, mass transit, and a Clean Energy Corps, putting hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our economy.
And of course, we need to end the war that has already cost us $1 trillion.
This economic stimulus package will cost about $150 billion. Just think what we could do if all that money was invested in big, smart, sustainable ways. Or we could just try the same old, failed, trickle-down economics.
Congress is moving fast, and will make a decision as early as this week about what the plan will include. Clicking here will add your name to our emergency petition:
Thank you for all you do.
--Noah, Eli, Wes, Justin, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
1. "Administration Stimulus Plan Fails Tests for Achieving Most Effective Stimulus, Gives Less Favorable Treatment to Families Under $40,000," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 18, 2008.
2. "No Quick Fix to Downturn," New York Times, January 13, 2008.
3. "Cost of War Nearly $2 Billion a Week," Boston Globe, September 28, 2006. http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/09/28/cost_of_iraq_war_nearly_2b_a_week/
4."Tax Rebate or Payment? A Policy Debate Begins," New York Times, January 20, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/washington/20rebate.html?sq=budget&scp=36&pagewanted=print
5. "Bush, Bernanke call for a stimulus plan," CNN, January 17, 2008.
6. "The President's Economic Stimulus Plan Is Only a Start," Center for American Progress, January 18, 2008.