The letter below was written by the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee to President Obama. It was cc’d to our respective U. S. Senators and Congressman, as well as the BCDC and municipal chairs of Bergen County. We are strongly urging the President and his congressional supporters to actively address the issues of unemployment and foreclosures that Americans are confronting on a day to day basis not only in New Jersey, but national as well.
We are requesting that the President, along with Congress, take a Keynesian style approach to the aforementioned problems and come up with sound programs to address these issues.
It is time for the President and our democratic elected officials to stand up to the hardline republicans at both the state and federal levels and to fight for the democratic principles upon which our political party was founded and come up with bold initiatives to stimulate the economy regardless of the republicans refusal to solve these problems.
Take them to task loudly and clearly during the campaign that it is the Republicans and not the Democrats who are holding America back.
It is time for our President and Democratic Congressional members to take a stand!
August 5, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The most important factor in the 2012 election, more important than door-to-door organizing or clever campaign ads, will be unemployment and foreclosures. So we call upon the Obama administration and its congressional supporters to take a much more active approach to address these two areas.
Just resting on current policies and hoping for significant progress by November 2012 is insufficient. Current policies are moving the economy too slowly for 2012. But there is still over a year for a bolder approach to take effect--if implemented right away.
(A bolder approach is even more urgent to correct the setbacks imposed by the debt deal just negotiated with hardline Republicans.)
Bolder approaches mean a large Keynesian-style economic stimulus. The economic stimulus so far tried has been barely more than the continuation of normal amounts of spending. (Paul Krugman, “No We Can’t? Or Won’t,” NYTimes, July 11, 2011) (*1)
The stimulus would include infrastructure renewal (roads, bridges, high speed rail, school buildings), support for starving state and local governments to retain and hire back severely needed teachers, librarians, police, and other public servants, keeping social security at least on a par with the cost of living, market-rate reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid, and support for industrial research and development to make our economy more competitive worldwide.
And if unemployment still lags, a WPA-style direct hiring program should follow. (It’s just hard to believe that it is better for the economy to have large numbers of people collecting unemployment insurance or to have given up on the job market, instead of building infrastructure, teaching, doing scientific research, or otherwise serving the economy.)
Objection: We don’t have the money. We’d go into even a bigger deficit to do this.
Answer: This is the textbook Keynesian model. Yes, you do go into deficit to stimulate an economy out of a recession. Otherwise, the economy will never pick up enough strength to reduce even a pre-stimulus deficit.(*2) “A downturn is the one time when red ink is advisable.”
Only after the economy regains its strength will there be enough resources to cut deficits--as well as to maintain government services (including health and education), provide employment and keep people in their homes.
And, if the voters see the president and the Democrats in Congress taking these initiatives, they will be given credit, instead of being seen as “me-too, can’t do anything but wait, hope and spread suffering” semi-Republicans.
And if the Republicans prevent or damp down these initiatives, the campaign should loudly and persistently point to them as the reason for the lack of progress--and point out that the only way forward is to put more Democrats in Congress. Give Obama a Congress he can work with--to save the economy and the citizens it exists to serve.(*3)
Laura I. Zucker, Chairperson
for the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee
cc: Obama for America (Official 2012 Campaign Committee)
Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee
Senate Democratic Campaign Committee
Senator Frank Lautenberg
Senator Robert Menendez
Congressman Steve Rothman
Bergen County Democratic Committee
Bergen County Municipal Committee Chairs
(*1) See also “The Worst Time to Slow the Economy,” NYTimes editorial, July 10, 2011; “Renewed weakness reflects deep, and urgent, problems,” and “Republicans continue their tax-cutting fantasia,” NYTimes editorials, June 12, 2011. Also, see Paul Krugman’s NYTimes blog posts: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/... http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/... http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...
/john_maynard_keynes/index .html; http://www.brookings.edu/... http://en.wikipedia.org/...
3For further reading, Harold Meyerson, “Stumbling our way to a fiscal doomsday,” (The Record, July 14, 2011)
(*3) For further reading, Harold Meyerson, “Stumbling our way to a fiscal doomsday,” (The Record, July 14, 2011)