A message from James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President
Stimulus package must help unemployed, add jobs
It looks like hard times are ahead of us. If or when the economy bottoms out, many Americans will have lost their jobs, their homes and their savings.
Recently, our political leaders made a small start to solve our economic problems.
Congress and the Bush administration cut a deal that would give at least $300 to just about everyone who takes a paycheck home. Most wage earners would get $600.
For those who don't have a paycheck because they don't have a job, there's no more help. The right thing to do is to extend unemployment insurance and add to it. People who don't have jobs will spend that money immediately. Any plan to stimulate the economy should aim to create more good-paying jobs. It must also protect those who have jobs that are in danger of disappearing.
Falling property values mean state and local governments have fewer tax dollars. That could mean layoffs for police officers, teachers, bus drivers and prison guards. Congress should send aid to cities and states so those employees can keep their jobs and keep spending money.
It's also past time to make a real commitment to repairing our roads and bridges. Fixing our crumbling infrastructure will create more jobs directly - and indirectly by making it more efficient to move goods.
Predatory lenders have forced some people to lose their homes. It's a good thing that the negotiators agreed to allow more borrowers facing default to refinance their sub prime loans. But we should look for more ways to keep people in their homes if they've been victims of unscrupulous lenders.
All these are short-term solutions. What Americans really need are long-term solutions to make the economy stronger. What Americans need are good jobs with good wages.
In the long run, what Americans need is for us to fix these so-called free-trade policies that send good American jobs to China and Mexico.
© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen