From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on the State of the Economy and the Jobs Report

October 03, 2008

What will it take for our elected leaders to help Main Street? Today’s news that our nation lost another 159,000 jobs last month – bringing the total number of jobs lost this year to 760,000 – should set off alarm bells at every level about the need to pass an economic stimulus package and provide real help to stem the continuing flood of foreclosures before asking taxpayers to bail out Wall Street. It is simply an outrage that our representatives are spending their remaining time helping Wall Street when the clock is running out for working families across the country. The middle class is collapsing. Across the country, more and more workers are facing long-term unemployment with little hope for finding any job, let alone one that pays the bills.

It is essential that we provide immediate relief to families across the country who are bearing the brunt of our economic meltdown. Congress should pass a stimulus bill that will help working people along with any effort to boost Wall Street. This is the moment to extend unemployment insurance for those without work. The number of long-term unemployed people rose by 167,000 last month, bringing the total unemployed for longer than 27 weeks to 2 million. The National Employment Law Project estimates that three-quarters of a million of those currently receiving unemployment benefits will exhaust their benefits this year without finding a new job. We also must give support to the states whose budgets will suffer under the current economy and create new jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling roads, schools and bridges.

The roots of our nation’s current economic crisis are decades deep. They reflect a basic elitism that has been built into our economic rules -- a philosophy that underpins the Bush Administration’s economic agenda and has permeated McCain’s as well for his 26 years in the Senate. These rules favor corporate profits and Wall Street investors over the working people who build our cities, teach our children and nurse our ills.

Working people are suffering real economic pain, and if there is money enough for Wall Street, Congress and the president need to dig a little deeper and find the funds to take care of people who are shouldering the burden of this economy.

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