Jobs for America Now

The United States faces the worst unemployment crisis of the last 70 years, with 11.5 million people unemployed, one-third of whom have been jobless for over six months. The lack of full-time jobs is especially severe: another 7.7 million Americans are working part time because they can’t find the full-time jobs they want and need. Over 14 million children live in poverty – that’s more than one out of every three children in our country, and 46.3 million Americans now have no health insurance. This is in spite of a bold and effective recovery package that has been creating or saving 200,000 to 250,000 jobs each month since April 2009. The jobs shortage is still so severe that there are three unemployed for every job vacancy.

The employment situation is an economic and moral crisis for the nation and requires an adequate, comprehensive response by the federal government. It also hits some constituencies harder than others, including most of-color and low-income communities, young people and older workers who lose jobs and no longer have the most valuable skills for the current labor market. By itself, the private sector is unable to create jobs in the numbers the United States needs to obtain a robust, full economic recovery. And much of the immediate damage has been done by irresponsible actions on Wall Street and in the financial sector.

That is why ICAN, along with its national ally, USAction, is making jobs and economic recovery a priority. The stock market may be on the rise but we’re looking at a jobless recovery. We will work to make sure the recovery reaches Main Street and all of the streets we live on.

ICAN supports a five-point plan to create jobs in the short-term and end the unemployment crisis.

The Jobs for America Now coalition recommends a five-point plan to create jobs and stem the unemployment crisis. The plan calls for the nation to:

  1. Strengthen the safety net and provide relief for those directly impacted by the recession. ICAN supports the strengthening and expansion of unemployment benefits, COBRA health insurance subsidies, and nutrition assistance. Providing relief through these safety-net services will not only help those impacted by the recession, but will also boost demand and spur job creation.
  2. Provide fiscal relief to the states.ICAN supports the extension of fiscal relief to state and local governments. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which passed early last year helped states avoid some of the worst budget cuts and layoffs in 2009 and 2010, but the money will run out before the economic crisis is over. Without relief, states will be forced to make even deeper cuts to their budgets and raise taxes-putting at risk jobs in the public and private sectors and the well-being of families.
  3. Create public service jobs.ICAN supports an investment in the direct creation of public service jobs in the public- and nonprofit-sectors that benefit local communities and make a productive use of human capital. To be most effective, these programs should be targeted at communities hit hardest by the unemployment crisis. These jobs should be available to every unemployed worker and pay the prevailing wage. Moreover, we must guard against the displacement of public employees.The types of work may vary, depending on the communities’ needs. Examples include environmental clean-up, stream restoration, community policing, before- and after-school care of children, demolition or boarding-up of abandoned houses and buildings, parks improvements, home health care, and the preservation of historic buildings. In addition, the implementation of health care reform will provide an opportunity for job creation in many communities.
  4. Invest in infrastructure, especially school construction, maintenance, and repair.ICAN supports efforts to create jobs by meeting the tremendous need for repairing our nation’s infrastructure. The nation’s schools, for example, could quickly and effectively spend $10 billion on repairs and maintenance, which would effectively provide jobs for 1.5 million construction workers, along with the countless other unemployed workers in the supplier industries. Additionally, significant resources are needed to bring the nation’s transportation systems into the 21st century.
  5. Explore tax incentives and/or credits to small and medium-sized businesses.ICAN supports the exploration of tax incentives to spur job creation in small and medium-sized businesses. These credits should be short-term, designed to meet the immediate needs of the current crisis. Measures must also be taken to ensure that they are not another handout to business at a time when families are struggling.

ICAN supports the identification of progressive revenue streams to finance job creation and economic recovery.

ICAN supports progressive revenue streams, such as tax increases on the wealthiest individuals and corporations who have reaped the benefits when the economy was healthy, to finance job creation and economic recovery. The Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans, which expire this year, should not be renewed. The estate tax, which also expires in 2010, should be strengthened and made permanent to provide an ongoing source of revenue for job creation and state fiscal relief. In addition, ICAN supports the creation of a financial speculation tax which would transfer wealth from the financial sector into investments in job creation.

ICAN also supports reductions in unnecessary and counter-productive military spending, resources that can and should be re-allocated to invest in America’s future.

Grassleyville 2010

Local activists enjoyed creating street theater on the busy downtown business district street—including “shoe leather soup”, a cardboard shanty and handmade signs. Several passersby joined in to hold signs! March 18, 2010

Working Families Call For Good Jobs Now,Tell Big Wall Street Banks To Pay

Sue Dinsdale and Amy Logsdon attended the South Central Iowa Federation of Labor-AFL-CIO jobs informational picket outside the Principal building in downtown Des Moines. February 8, 2010

Jobs: What the Federal Government Must Do To Tackle the Unemployment Crisis

Recorded webinar from January 28, 2010 featuring Deborah Weinstein from the Coalition on Human Needs; Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute; Deepak Bhargava of the Center for Community Change; and Alan Charney of USAction.