With the first quarter 2012 federal jobs report due out , Dr. Jill Stein warned that attempts to spin the economic news to favor the Obama administration should not be allowed to mask the reality of the ongoing economic crisis experienced by working people.
We need to look for more than downticks in unemployment that are not significant when compared to the enormous economic losses that Americans have suffered in recent times. We are years away from getting back to the 5% unemployment rate we had before the recession, and even at that rate, things were falling apart for tens of millions Americans. The economy before the recession was transfer wealth from working people to the super rich. Now almost half of Americans are living in poverty or near poverty.
According to Stein, the 1980s began 30 years of what she called “The Stolen Decades” in which the real wages and purchasing power of the average American worker began to flatline, and the wages of corporate CEOs shot up dramatically.
“Unemployment is a serious concern. Equally devastating has been the fact that stagnant wages are not letting people get ahead. Workers are dropping out of the middle class. Workers are not able to save for retirement. After adjusting for inflation, the federal minimum wage is $2.75 lower than it was 40 years ago. These have been the stolen decades for working people.”
Stein noted that the so-called ‘signs of recovery’ do not offer any hope to the urban poor, overwhelmingly people of color, who have struggled with mass unemployment, extreme poverty, and lack of economic opportunity for many years.
“When you’re dealing with the harsh reality of youth employment rates above 50% and major segments of the community trapped in a lifetime of crushing poverty, you don’t want to hear your government officials brag about how well their economic policies are working. You want to hear about plans for decisive action. That’s why I’m advocating for a Green New Deal that will provide all the jobs we need – full employment – in the hard-hit communities where we most need them.”
“We need major policy changes to bring economic security to the working people of America” Stein asserted. “The fundamental flaws of an economic policy dictated by Wall Street are apparent, even if they have sometimes been masked by periods of apparent growth that were actually financed by unsustainable credit card and housing debt. Wealth that should be invested in our local economy to create jobs is being put in the hands of the super rich who build factories abroad instead. Families disintegrate while the income of the richest few surges upward. This is changing America in a way that we must not accept.”
“With the loss of a generation’s worth of pension savings and home equity, middle class Americans who once though they had achieved security are staring into the abyss. And for years we told our children that a college education was the key to economic security. Today, an education is often is not enough. Students are coerced into accepting massive student loans they may never be able to repay given the poor job market they face upon graduation. And we’re forcing young people to go to work for wages that are often half of those that their parents earned for the same job.”
“Whatever job numbers are released tomorrow, there is no cause for celebration of this administration’s policies. If elected, I will show Obama’s Wall Street advisers the door, and we’ll bring in the kind of progressive economic team that advised Roosevelt with his original New Deal. We’ll return the wealth that was stolen from working people and invest in America’s future.”
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