by UFCW International President, Joe Hansen
This Labor Day, as the national unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent and the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, it is clear that we need to think big and create a bold jobs plan that will lift Americans out of poverty and rebuild the middle class.
But as the country waits for President Obama’s jobs speech next week, the national conversation is still focused on cutting the deficit at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens—a tactic that will do nothing to create new jobs.
It is time to make job creation—good jobs with benefits that can support a family—a priority over a politically manufactured debt crisis. It is time to announce a bold infrastructure investment plan to fix our roads, bridges, schools, airports, railways and seaports, and invest in a WPA-type jobs program to clean up abandoned and vacant properties to alleviate blight in distressed and foreclosure-affected neighborhoods; staff emergency food programs to reduce hunger and promote family stability; work in Head Start, child care, and other early childhood education programs to promote school readiness and early literacy; and renovate and maintain parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces.
If the national conversation continues to be manipulated by those who put their own interests ahead of the poor and middle class, our country will never fully recover from this downward economic spiral. It is time to think big.