Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jobs and Economic Justice Tour Launched

cross-posted from
by Isaiah J. Poole, 3/10/11
"...The Progressive Caucus is launching a "jobs and economic justice" tour around the country, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., announced at the Summit on Jobs and America's Future.
The tour is designed to promote an alternative to the "so be it" agenda of congressional conservatives and their corporate backers that Ellison says is attacking the fundamental underpinnings of the middle class — and ultimately the principles of American democracy.
Ellison was at a session of the jobs summit that included Rep. George Miller, who with Ellison last year campaigned for a $100 billion public jobs bill that if enacted would have created an additional 1 million jobs, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is launching his "America Fast Forward" initiative to promote new transportation investment.
Ellison said that the jobs and economic tour will promote a three-part agenda that he said was designed to be inspiring and a political winner:
• "Let's rebuild our country," creating infrastructure jobs that can't be exported, using steel and other raw materials from America.
• A "trade agenda that is about fair trade, not just about moving jobs out of the country."
• "An affirmation of public jobs and public employees."

Conyers Introduces Deficit Neutral Full Employment and Training Bill

Washington DC- Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) today introduced H.R. 870, the “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act,” a comprehensive and innovative federal and local government job creation and training bill that would create millions of new jobs for the nation’s unemployed. Local jobs would be created through a partnership between the Department of Labor, state, and local governments, non-profit community organizations, and small businesses. Under the Act, jobs would be created in the fields of construction, infrastructure repairs, green jobs, education, health care, and neighborhood renovation. The Act’s Full Employment Trust Fund would provide federal funding for local community-based job creation and training initiatives until full employment is reached in the United States. The Act is deficit neutral and fully funded through a modest tax on Wall Street stock and bond transactions.

“Today, there are millions of Americans who want a job, but can’t find one,” said Conyers. “The inability to find meaningful and sustainable work strips our fellow citizens of their basic right to have access to food, housing, health care, freedom of movement, and perhaps, most importantly, the ability to pursue life with a sense of dignity and meaning. High levels of unemployment are unacceptable and immoral in the wealthiest nation in the world. Thus, I believe it is critical that the federal government empower states, local governments, non-profits, and small businesses to create jobs during an economic downturn.

My “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act” would allow local government officials to work with community leaders to come up with an effective job creation program, based on each community’s respective needs—be it improvements in infrastructure, housing, energy efficiency, education, or health care. The private sector will also benefit if millions of new jobs are created through improvements in our nation’s aging and crumbling infrastructure. New orders for brick, concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics mean new jobs in America’s plants and factories and a rebirth of American manufacturing.

Lastly, because we exist in a period when concerns about government debt loom large in many minds, my legislation will be fully funded by a tax on Wall Street speculation and will not add a dime to the federal debt. Wall Street was responsible for the financial crisis that began in 2008 and continues to affect us today. Having already received significant assistance from the federal government, it is only fair that Wall Street now pay Main Street back by helping put America back to work.”

Link to Rep. Conyers' 3/2 Press Release