"Fake Political Crises and Real Economic Crises - A Call for Leadership and for Action"
Fake Political Crises and Real Economic Crises - A Call for Leadership and for Action
AFL-CIO Executive Council Statement
The United States is in a continuing and severe jobs crisis. Our economy
is growing at less than 2 percent per year, and growth is slowing.
Official unemployment is 9.2 percent and rising—driven now by mass
layoffs of teachers, first responders and other public employees. The
real unemployment rate is almost twice as high—once labor market
dropouts and involuntary part-time work are taken into account.
It doesn't have to be this way. There are real solutions to the jobs
crisis, but real solutions require government action.
Yet Washington is inexplicably focused on measures that will make the
situation worse—both in the short and long run. Our nation's leaders are
offering working people the choice between bad and worse policies.
Instead of addressing our profound economic crisis, they are adding to
it an unending series of fake political crises.
Real wages have been stagnant for three decades and are now falling. The
housing market, the largest market of any kind in our country, continues
its downward slide, driven by the collapse of an enormous bubble.
Millions of American families have been or will be thrown out of their
homes by banks, guaranteeing that this drag on our economy will continue
for the foreseeable future. Our trade deficit keeps growing. We invest
less and less in our nation's infrastructure while unemployment in
construction is nearly double the national average. Veterans return home
and struggle to find work. Our education budgets at every level are
shrinking, and fewer and fewer of us have adequate health insurance or a
Republican congressional leaders have made their agenda crystal
clear—paralyze the government and hold our economy hostage until a
multitrillion-dollar ransom is paid to their contributors in the form of
tax cuts for the wealthy and for multinational corporations. They will
not rest until they have succeeded in dismantling the American
government and the American Dream—so their wealthy contributors can be
sure that their taxes will remain the lowest in the developed world for
the remainder of their days.
Unfortunately, far too many Democrats have been either silent or
complicit in the Republicans' scheme. We expect Democrats at every level
of government to stand tall for progressive principles, working families
and the American labor movement. We need their leadership—not their
excuses or apologies.
But this agenda has been clear for years. The congressional Republicans
are doing nothing more than escalating the Bush agenda—using the
disingenuous rhetoric of fiscal responsibility to transfer wealth to the
rich, dismantle the social safety net and increase the deficit. If our
country is going to have a bright and fair future, we need a completely
different direction—toward a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity
economy, driven by investment in our workforce and our infrastructure,
and our public services.
There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our
troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign
policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at