Dear MoveOn member,
Last night, President Obama laid out the beginnings of a plan to create jobs, repair our infrastructure, and start putting America back to work. On its own, it won't be enough to get our country back on its feet, but it's a big step in the right direction.
Now the question is how hard the president will fight for it. Too many times, we've seen the White House back down in the face of Republican opposition, and this time has to be different. President Obama needs to know we're counting on him to go to the mat for the millions of Americans who are suffering—and that we'll fight right by his side if he does.
So we're joining with Rebuild the Dream to deliver a pledge to the White House next week, signed by thousands of members of the American Dream movement.
The pledge says simply: "Mr. President: Make this speech the first step. Keep the pressure on Congress, every day, to create jobs—and don't back down until they do. There are many good things in your plan. If you fight like hell for them, I'll fight with you."
Six months ago, despite record unemployment, next to no one in Washington was talking about jobs. That's changing, and the president's speech last night is proof.
And you helped make that happen. You and millions of other members of the American Dream movement—spanning hundreds of organizations—kindled the spark in Wisconsin into a national uprising; gathered in thousands of living rooms to craft a plan to fix the economy; and held thousands of actions throughout August demanding action on the jobs crisis.
As for the president's proposal, how strong is it? Here's a useful take from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman:
I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It's not nearly as bold as the plan I'd want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.
It calls for about $200 billion in new spending—much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs—and $240 billion in tax cuts. That may sound like a lot, but it actually isn't.... And it's unclear, in particular, how effective the tax cuts would be at boosting spending.1
The president's plan contains some important elements from the Contract for the American Dream that 130,000 of us wrote this summer. It makes a down payment on fixing our crumbling infrastructure, invests in public education—putting people to work fixing our school buildings and keeping hundreds of thousands of teachers in our classrooms. And although the details are sketchy, it will pay for at least some of the new spending by returning to fairer tax rates for the rich.
But there's a lot more in the Contract that would create good jobs now. We need more investments to create 21st-century energy jobs, a health care system that offers everyone the option of buying into Medicare and slows the growth of costs, and to make sure that the jobs that are being created pay a decent wage, with the right to form a union—so we rebuild the middle class that's the engine of our economy.
The first step is making sure that the president knows that we need him to really fight for the most progressive elements of his plan, and that we'll be fighting beside him if he does. Click below to add your name to the pledge:
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Robin, Elena, Mark, and the rest of the team
1. "Setting Their Hair on Fire," The New York Times, September 8, 2011
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