Jobs for America
The current economic crisis is the worst we've seen since the Great Depression. During the last 2 years over 8 million Americans have lost their jobs, leading to an unemployment rate at a 30‐year high. Financial turmoil has cost many people their pensions and savings. Now while Wall Street has bounced back, jobs have not. A jobless recovery is no recovery at all.
We need to take a two‐pronged approach to creating jobs. First, we need to get people back to work immediately, prevent additional layoffs and protect the currently unemployed from additional economic devastation. Consumers need the confidence to spend and businesses need the confidence to hire.
Second, we need to ensure that we have a long term plan to ensure the economy grows and that those jobs become permanent. We need to invest in infrastructure that makes the country more competitive and leads the way in developing a new green power grid. We need to provide the training and education that prepares our young people for the new economy and gives displaced workers the skills to get back into the workforce.
Finally, we need to make sure that the people who got us into this mess share the burden of getting us out. Wall Street is back to making huge profits and passing out record bonuses. If they can afford to help themselves, they can afford to help the rest of us, especially in light of the money that we, as taxpayers, put up to keep them solvent.
Making Wall Street Pay Its Fair Share
Getting the economy moving again and pushing it toward long‐term stability is an expensive proposition. Before we talk about how to create jobs, let's talk about how to pay for it.
The Bush deficit is now ballooning under the strain of a collapsed economy. Virtually every economist agrees that getting the economy moving is going to take an increase in government spending. But who is going pay?
Wall Street banks played a major role in getting the country mired in this recession and we bailed them out. Now, they have returned to business as usual--making record profits with risky investments and rewarding themselves with huge bonuses. All the while they are fighting common‐sense reform. They should share in the pain of our long, slow recovery.
Assessment on Wall Street --A financial transactions fee (FTF) of .25% on stock transactions would fund our comprehensive jobs program. The U.S. had a similar fee from 1914 until 1966. The United Kingdom has a FTF and maintains the highest volume exchange in Europe.
Our FTF proposal would be assessed for a 10‐year period, creating up to $150 billion in revenue annually, to pay for our jobs program with excess funds used to pay down the Bush deficit. The first $100,000 of personal financial transactions annually are exempted as are tax‐favored pension and retirement plans, mutual funds, education and health savings accounts. This fee is meant to discourage speculation, not new investments, therefore this proposed fee would not be imposed on initial public offerings of stocks or bonds.
Jump starting the economy
A Tax Credit for Middle and Lower Income Families‐‐Getting the economy to grow requires an increase in demand. As long as families are worried that their jobs and livelihoods are at risk, they will resist the urge to spend. Offering a one‐time $1,200 income tax credit to families making less than $100,000 per year puts money directly back into the economy.
Job Creation Tax Credit--Businesses are wary of hiring because of the uncertainty of the economic environment. This proposal calls for a tax credit for companies that expand their payrolls. Other proposals spend tax dollars on companies that are already hiring, giving away taxpayers money for nothing. This program rewards companies for increasing the number of workers they have on the payroll, offering a 15% refundable tax credit for new hires. The amount would decrease to 10% in 2011, phasing out in 2012 therefore incentivizing employers to hire immediately.
Protecting teachers, police and firstresponders--State and local governments have been hit especially hard by the recession. The Economic Recovery Act last year prevented massive layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees. Loss of these jobs costs millions of dollars in tax revenue, damages our schools and makes families less safe. In the first years of our program, income from the FTF provides direct support to state and local governments preventing the laying off of teachers, police and firefighters, and other critical public employees.
Extending Unemployment Benefits--With almost 4 million workers unemployed and no jobs to be found, Congress needs to extend unemployment benefits, including COBRA. In addition to being the right thing to do, the money from these benefits goes directly into the economy stimulating demand.
Retooling America for Long‐Term Growth
Our long‐term economic stability depends upon on our ability to compete in a changing global economy. We need to make necessary investments in both our people and our infrastructure.
Modernizing our infrastructure--We need to invest in roads, bridges, water and sewer treatment plants, fiber optics, rail, etc. The new economy requires our ability to move goods, people and ideas around quickly and efficiently. We must provide the infrastructure companies need to grow and expand quickly and we must make sure our whole country is "wired" with easy, affordable access to high‐speed Internet service. China, India and other developing countries are making these investments. We cannot afford to fall behind.
Education and Training--As the traditional manufacturing economy evolves into the high‐tech economy, we need to have the workforce prepared to take on new demands. We should invest in our schools, community colleges and universities to ensure they have resources to prepare our children and workers from declining sectors for the jobs of the future.
Investing in a Green Economy--Ending our dependence on fossil fuels, including foreign oil, makes sense for our environment, our security and our economic stability. North Carolina, in particular, is poised to benefit from the green revolution. Our coastal areas are ideal for wind power and we already have solar farms sprouting up. The wide‐open spaces of the piedmont and eastern North Carolina are prepared to grow electricity.
Building a new electric grid that will transfer power from the source to population centers will create jobs as well as make us more competitive as a country. Increasing our investment in research and development through grants and loans spurs innovation in this important new sector of our economy.
Reform Healthcare--With premiums on the rise, healthcare is a burden on businesses that is becoming unsustainable. Without slowing the rise in premiums and lowering the number of people who are uninsured, the cost of healthcare will continue to be drag on our long‐term economic growth.
Protecting American Jobs and Workers
End Tax Credits for Sending Jobs Overseas‐‐For too long, we have rewarded companies that send jobs overseas. We need to close these tax loopholes and instead reward companies that create jobs here. The word "offshore company" should refer to rogue companies who are damaging the American economy.
Stop Unfair Trade Agreements--We need to put an end to trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA that destroy American jobs but reward shareholders. Trade deals need to take into consideration safety, workforce and environmental standards and trading partners that don't enforce such regulations should be penalized.