Last week, Jobs with Justice (JWJ) and its allies organized events in more than 100 cities across the country to highlight the dire state of the economy, specifically for America’s workers. According to recent reports, 15 million people are looking for work and one in seven Americans are living in poverty—a 15-year high .
So what’s the solution? JWJ is urging Congress to act on legislation that puts Americans back to work without delay, such as the Local Jobs for America Act—which allocates about $100 billion to local communities to retain vital public services, and would even provide funding for private sector job training. Participants in last week’s actions also called for extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, a jobs program that has allowed 37 states to employ nearly 250,000 out-of-work women and men.
And JWJ isn’t alone in advocating for immediate action. More than 300 economists and policy experts agree: during a shaky recovery, it’s no time to practice austerity. In their words,
The deficit hawks of that New Deal era persuaded President Roosevelt to reverse course prematurely and move toward budget balance. The result was a severe recession that caused the economy to contract sharply and sent the unemployment rate soaring. Only the much larger wartime spending of the early 1940s produced a full recovery.
With that historical context in mind, JWJ’s message to Congress seems more urgent than ever.