We welcome the news in this morning’s jobs report that the economy added 146,000 new jobs in November, bringing the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent. But we remain a long way from full employment: almost 5 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, and almost a million have stopped looking for work because they have become discouraged.
It is more important than ever that we build on existing momentum, and not allow Republicans in Congress to undermine the economy’s recovery. President Obama’s leadership has put our country on the long road back to shared prosperity. Remember that four years ago this month, as the Bush presidency wound down, the economy hemorrhaged 803,000 jobs in November alone.
But the labor market is still weak and will undoubtedly suffer from Republican hostage-taking or additional austerity. The last thing the economy needs is more tax rate cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans or cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. The President and Congress should reject any “grand bargain” that falls short and puts working families’ security at risk.
Given the struggles working people are experiencing, it is ridiculous for self-anointed billionaires and CEOs (under the guise of a disingenuous “Fix the Debt” campaign”) to advocate shredding our social safety net to protect the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent. Instead, what we need is a fair share of revenue from the richest 2% to fund needed investments in infrastructure, education, and job creation.
Even with renewed job growth in recent months, we remain years away from regaining all the jobs lost during the Bush recession and financial crisis. Extending Unemployment Insurance to protect a lifeline for unemployed workers is critical.
We must move towards a future in which the economy works for everyone, not just the select few who have benefitted from policies such as the Wall Street bailout or offshoring. The labor movement is committed to the policies of ‘Prosperity Economics’ — reforms that will unite and strengthen America by creating jobs, promoting economic security and rebuilding our democracy. Only by working together can we to build an economy that works well for all.