Declare a Jobs Emergency on September 15!
By Mary Bottari
Center for Media and Democracy and
Huffington Post September 9, 2010
Job cuts sometimes have a way of sneaking up on you --
a few teachers here, a police officer there and a fire
department that may not be open when you need them. In
some areas it is a slow bleed, but as every EMT knows,
a thousand small cuts can still kill the patient.
One group is pushing back against the drip, drip, drip
of disappearing jobs and relentless cutbacks in public
services. Jobs with Justice (JwJ), the broad-based
coalition of faith groups, labor unions, students and
grassroots organizations located in 47 communities
across the nation, says it simply will not accept a
Say "No" to the New Normal: While some pundits are
labeling the 10% unemployment rate "the new normal,"
JwJ is calling it what it is A National Jobs Emergency.
"When Wall Street was in crisis, Congress found
hundreds of billions of dollars to bail them out. We
need to respond to the jobs crisis with the same
urgency," says JwJ Director Sarita Gupta. Their slogan
is simple: Good Jobs Now, Make Wall Street Pay.
The folks at JwJ know that without major federal
investment in job creation, the unemployment rate could
hover between 8-13% for the next decade. Because so
many people are out of work and tax revenue is down,
city and state budgets have been hit hard too,
generating increasingly harsh cuts in essential
services such as education, transport, police and fire.
But how does one pay for the necessary investment in
the workforce when 41 states are operating in the red
and obstructionists in Congress are prioritizing
deficit reduction over job creation?
Tax Wall Street Speculation: JwJ material states that
it is time to make Wall Street pay for the mess it
made, literally. Specifically, the organization is
promoting a financial speculation tax, a tiny tax on
high-volume, high-speed speculative trading that some
experts say would tamp down reckless Wall Street
gambling and at the same time bring in a large steady
stream of revenue, $100 billion a year or more, to put
America back to work. JwJ points to a bill authored by
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and Iowa Senator Tom
Harkin, which applies a small transaction tax of .25%
or less to sales of stocks, options and futures, after
exempting middle class investment vehicles like 401k's.
120 Actions Planned: The organization is planning 120
actions across the country Sept 15th featuring a
diversity of targets and tactics. In Orlando, activists
will mourn the Death of the Middle Class while
targeting incumbent republican Senator George LeMeiux's
who has done little to advance the issue of job
security or stop the skyrocketing rate of foreclosures.
In Chicago, activists will be visiting GOP headquarters
to demand the end to obstructionism. In Dallas, they
will pack a city council meeting protesting proposed
budget cuts. In San Francisco, residents will urge
incumbent democratic Senator Diane Feinstein to help
the state put out the fire caused by its ravaged
Lighting a Fire: The goal is to target obstructionists
as well as light a fire under complacent democrats. To
that end JwJ is targeting democrats as well as
republicans. "Democrats are being too cautious and are
playing it safe talking about the need for deficit
reduction. Well the emergency is the jobs deficit not
the fiscal deficit," says Erica Smiley, JwJ's Southern
Regional Organizer. "This is a litmus test issue. If
Democrats come out strongly on jobs before the
election, we will have their back." Left unsaid is that
the reverse will also be true. This is a very real
concern as poll after poll shows a clear lack of
enthusiasm on the part of democratic voters who feel
that the red carpet was put out for Wall Street (now
bouncing back with record profits and bonuses) while
Main Street residents were kicked to the curb.
Join in the Fun: So if you are feeling fired up on
Wednesday, September 15th, hook up with yourlocal JwJ
or cook up your own creative action. You can see a
complete list of actions and contacts by clicking here.
Linking the jobs and revenue crisis to Wall Street is a
no-brainer says Smiley: "We bailed out Wall Street and
Wall Street is making record profits. Now it's time for
them to bail us out." It has the ring of simple
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