Oct 13, 2010

Fixing our Economy with Union Values

Greed. Avarice. Reckless speculation. Zero accountability. That’s what got America into the financial mess we’re in. But those aren’t the values we advocate when we are teaching our children how to get ahead, how to support themselves financially, or how to be successful. We teach them just the opposite: responsibility, hard work, fairness, cautiousness, and generosity.

Those are also union values, and they’re the values that our governors, senators, representatives and elected officials at every level must draw on if we are to repair a decade of economic damage caused by Republican malfeasance. We have no choice but to draw on our own ethics and principles—not the ethics of Wall Street bankers—if we want to grow an economy that strengthens our country and middle-class families for the long run.

President Obama inherited an economy in free-fall with huge deficits, skyrocketing health care costs, rising unemployment, and banking and housing markets on the brink of collapse. It took two years, and we still have quite a way to go, but the fact is that under George Bush, our economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month. Despite Republican obstructionism, Democrats were the ones to turn America around by cutting taxes for 95 percent of working families, and investing in the sectors of our economy that are projected to grow the most jobs: health care, energy, education. And, there’s still more work planned.

  • Putting Americans to work rebuilding roads, bridges, rails, and ports, strengthening our economy and our infrastructure across all 50 states.
  • Investing in a clean energy economy, and providing tax credits to spark manufacturing of windmills, solar panels, and electric cars here at home; and
  • Valuing and rewarding with decent pay and family-supporting benefits those who are already employed in the jobs and sectors that are here to stay—like the 4.2 million Americans who work in retail; grocery workers; food processing meat packing and other plant workers.

In addition to the Recovery Act, which stabilized the financial system and helped to prevent a second Great Depression, the President and Democrats have taken several actions to save and create jobs and to get our economy moving again and to ensure that as the engine of our economy comes back to life, it will run for working people, not Wall Street.

  • Passed the Manufacturing Enhancement Act to help create jobs, lower business costs, and strengthen the manufacturing sector.
  • Supported Americans looking for work by passing the Unemployment Compensation Act which restored badly needed assistance to hard-working Americans who lost their jobs in the recession.
  • Reinstated fiscal responsibility in government spending and ensured that American taxpayers will never again be forced to bail out big banks.
  • Passed the Home Buyers Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, extending the eligibility for new home buyers to receive a tax credit for their purchase.
  • Passed a bill that will cut taxes and increase lending for small businesses, helping them to grow and hire new workers. It also lets businesses write off half of their equipment investments this year, and lets employers deduct health insurance costs from their taxes.
  • Signed into law emergency aid for states saving the jobs of more than 140,000 teachers and preventing the layoffs of police officers, firefighters and first responders.