Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sen. Bernie Sanders Leads Fight for Job Creation

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' Statement on Unemployment Emergency


Unemployment Emergency -- 12/05/2008

Sen. Bernie Sanders called for immediate action to create jobs in the wake of a new report that more than half a million jobs were lost in November, the worst monthly showing in 34 years.

“This is an emergency. We need to jolt our economy back to life. Immediate action is needed to create millions of jobs,” Sanders said. The job losses pushed the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, the highest rate since the recession of the early 1990s, the Labor Department reported.

As the Center for Economic and Policy Research put it, "This report should eliminate any possible doubts about the seriousness of this downturn. The economy is falling at the sharpest rate since the Great Depression."

Sen. Sanders called on Congress to pass an economic recovery package. While the official unemployment rate is bad enough, Sanders noted that if you include people who have given up looking for work and those who are underemployed, the real number is much worse.

The senator has advocated a stimulus package of at least $500 billion.

“After years of neglect, our top priority should be a major investment in repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, fixing our schools, reviving our railroads, and making a major financial commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Now is the time to move forward aggressively because each $1 billion investment creates up to 47,000 new jobs,” Sanders said.

“If Congress can fork over $700 billion to rescue the Wall Street fat cats from their reckless gambles, why can’t we put millions of Americans to work rebuilding our country as we address the severe economic crisis we face?”

Sanders opposed the Wall Street bailout and said it has become one of the great outrages of American economic history. The $700 billion bailout legislation is only part of a far greater $8 trillion in taxpayer funds and loan guarantees obligated by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve.

“Because of the greed of people on Wall Street and at major financial institutions, the Masters of the Universe who have made millions of dollars through their irresponsible behavior have taken the world to the brink of economic collapse.”

Sanders has introduced legislation to stop the Treasury Department from tapping the second $350 billion pot of money in the bailout fund. He has proposed another bill to stop year-end bonuses for the bankers that took taxpayer money, and he also proposed a bill that would limit compensation for any executive of any company that took federal funds to no more than the salary of the president of the United States.

Sanders also said Congress must take a hard look at the manufacturing sector in the United States.

“American corporations must reinvest in America and stop taking away our good-paying jobs and sending them overseas.”

To read the Center for Economic and Policy Research's analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, click here.

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