Economic Stimulus Plan Falls Way Short
By Scott Marshall
The economic stimulus plan negotiated between Bush and the House of Representatives falls way short of what working families need. It really amounts to another huge tax give-away for big business. No one should scoff at the rebates, however. Even a few hundred dollars will help many families in trouble. But the fundamental immediate stimulus needed includes paycheck to paycheck unemployment compensation for the duration of joblessness, a big boost in food stamps and utility bill subsidy programs, and an immediate moratorium on foreclosures on family homes.
And there is no basic way out of this growing economic crisis that does not include: 1) Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act so that workers can organize to defend their own economic security, 2) Comprehensive, universal health care for all (HR 676), 3) Renegotiating all trade agreements to include ironclad labor and environmental standards, and 4) A comprehensive industrial policy that ends tax subsidies for big business to export jobs and strengthens regulation of investments to encourage building a needs-based and sustainable manufacturing base, including mass transit and other people’s needs.
Several Senators have promised to strengthen the plan by adding unemployment extensions and more money for food stamps and similar measures. These efforts should be vigorously supported including mobilizing union committees and demanding that all candidates support these minimum efforts. At the same time the crisis will worsen and labor and the peoples movements need to organize for deeper more comprehensive emergency measures.
We think the AFL-CIO’s proposed stimulus plan is a very good start in this direction. Read it here.