President Obama is right: the United States needs a jobs program that spends federal tax dollars to retain jobs, to create jobs and to put tens of millions of Americans back to work.
Unfortunately, President Obama does not have a Congress that will work with him to implement a jobs agenda.
Rather, he has a Congress that says the United States is broke.
That’s a lie. The United States is a wealthy country with immense resources. It can fund wars of whim, back bailouts and tax breaks for billionaires.
So there is money. The problem is that the money is misallocated.
But that’s not the worst of it.
The most frustrating reality of the current moment is that the federal government places too much of the tax burden on working families, small farmers and small business owners—all of whom contribute mightily to society while struggling to make ends meet—and too little on the Wall Street speculators whose greed and irresponsibility has done so much to destabilize the economy.
Obama’s increased focus on jobs is important. But it is not enough at a moment when Republicans in Congress—and their echo chamber in the media—refuse to allocate the resources that are necessary to fund jobs initiatives.
The demand for a jobs programs must be coupled with demands for better budgeting priorities and for new sources of revenue. National Nurses United, the activist union that has been in the forefront of pushing for a genuinely progressive politics and economics in the United States, is addressing the revenue issue with a bold campaign for a tax on Wall Street financial speculation.
They’re taking the campaign to the offices of sixty members of the US House—Democrats and Republicans—with a September 1 “National Day of Action to Tax Wall Street.” At a number offices, such as that of House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, they will set up 1930s-style soup kitchens to feed hungry families that have been left without work and in some cases without homes by plant closings and layoffs. (Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, a historic manufacturing center, has been devastated by the shuttering of major employers, such as a General Motors plant that once employed 7,100 area workers.)
NNU allies, such as Progressive Democrats of America and local unions and activist groups, will join the “Day of Action” drive to get members of Congress to sign a pledge to “support a Wall Street transaction tax that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street.”