In anticipation of the president’s jobs speech, Half in Ten encourages the administration to propose job-creation policies that match the scope of the jobs crisis and strategies that include those traditionally left behind during economic recoveries.
“If the Obama administration does not want to leave a legacy of widening inequality and persistent poverty, it must make special efforts to target jobs to the most hard-hit groups—among them low-income parents, youth, communities of color, and the long-term unemployed,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs and a partner in the Half in Ten campaign.
Key among such strategies are: 1) continuing federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, which not only helps struggling families but also increases demand for local businesses allowing them to keep and hire new workers; 2) connecting low-income workers with private employers through a subsidized jobs program; and 3) aid to states and localities to help prevent further job losses among teachers, police officers, and local service providers. The campaign also supports strategies such as continued tax relief for working families through the payroll tax cut and infrastructure jobs and job training to meet the needs of a 21st century economy.
August’s unemployment data underscore the need for urgent action. With zero jobs created last month and projections of anemic job growth without further action, the policies outlined in the president’s speech must match the scope of the jobs crisis. We cannot comprehensively tackle our nation’s deficits without putting people back to work.
“Unless we resolve our job crisis, all of our other national priorities are in real jeopardy,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a partner in the Half in Ten campaign. “For the working class, communities of color, and people with disabilities, record unemployment levels have caused far too much pain for far too long. But it’s not too late for the Obama administration to commit to a new path forward for our economy. With thoughtful policymaking and execution, we can create opportunities that raise the standard of living for those suffering from the recession and work toward a shared prosperity for all Americans.”
Conservative proposals to slash critical public investments and cut assistance to the most vulnerable are job-killing strategies. “As the super committee considers its strategy for long-term deficit reduction, it is important to remember that slashing programs that strengthen the middle class and help struggling families will ultimately do long-term damage to our economy,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Senior Vice President of Center for American Progress Action Fund, and a Half in Ten partner.
Next month, Half in Ten will release an inaugural report establishing a baseline for cutting poverty in half over the next 10 years. The campaign will measure multiple indicators of economic well-being, one of the most important being the creation of good jobs that move families from poverty to prosperity.
“A comprehensive strategy to create decent-wage jobs for more American workers is critical to both long-term poverty reduction efforts and rebuilding our economy to ensure shared prosperity for all,” said Melissa Boteach, Half in Ten Manager. “Half in Ten looks forward to working with Congress and the Obama administration to promote job creation that reflects these principles.”