Progressive Groups Urge President Obama to ‘Go Big’ With His Jobs Plan

As the White House prepares to roll out its new jobs package, President Obama is under intensifying pressure from his political base to come out with an ambitious plan that puts a real dent in the unemployment rate.

Urging aggressive steps is an alliance of liberal organizations, including Latino, gay and women's rights advocates. They sent a letter to Obama on Tuesday telling him that "history – and proven economics – tells us that any plan to solve our jobs crisis needs to be big, bold, and create jobs directly." Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Sixty-seven major progressive organizations have penned an open letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to “go big” as he prepares a new jobs plan, which he will announce in a major speech just after Labor Day.

The groups — including MoveOn, Democracy for America, Rebuild the Dream and the National Council of Women’s Organizations — commend Obama for presenting a jobs plan at a “crucial moment,” but also stress the negative impact of Congress’s failure to provide a fix for the nation’s high unemployment rate:

“A problem this serious needs a plan to match it in scope. Tax cuts and incentives for corporations have repeatedly failed to put Americans back to work. It is time to move beyond these half-measures designed to appeal to a narrow ideological minority who have repeatedly shown their unwillingness to negotiate and their disinterest in real solutions. History — and proven economics — tells us that any plan to solve our job crisis needs to be big, bold, and create jobs directly.

With 25 million Americans out of work, or only able to find part-time work when they want and need full-time jobs, aggressive action is needed. Representative Jan Schakowsky’s “Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act” is an example of the kind of bold step that we need to take as a country and that you should include as part of your broader jobs agenda.

It would decrease unemployment 1.3 percent by directly creating more than 2 million jobs, including jobs for construction workers to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and for educators, health care workers, firefighters, and police, to strengthen our communities.”

President Obama will deliver a speech after the Labor Day weekend outlining his plan to create more jobs. He indicated that his agenda will include items that both political parties can agree on, but some are asking him to present an even bolder plan.

Obama, apparently, did not have a completed plan at the time, but simply talked of having a jobs proposal in place soon. Reports are that White House administration officials are currently “scrambling” to come up with a plan by next week, according to The Washington Post.

Before his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard this month, Obama was on a three-state bus tour through rural parts of the Midwest. On that tour, he said he would present a plan to create jobs sometime in September.

Unemployment is now 9.1%. And the jobs report that comes out Friday is expected to show the U.S. didn’t create enough jobs in August to keep up with population growth. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview that Obama needs to stand up for a jobs plan that is adequate to the moment.

“Who knows what’s politically achievable until we try?” Trumka said. “The president should articulate a solution of the size and scale necessary to solve the problem. We have a jobs crisis.  If you do only what you think the other side and the ‘tea party’ will agree to, then they control the agenda.”

Trumka would invest $400 billion a year over 10 years on public works projects. Thus far, Obama has called for an infrastructure “bank” that would use $30 billion to help restore the nation’s network of roads, bridges, tunnels and ports.

Trumka laid out a six-point jobs plan of his own that goes far beyond what Obama has endorsed to date. His proposal includes rebuilding schools, roads, ports and energy systems; reviving the manufacturing sector and stopping the flow of jobs overseas; preventing layoffs in state and local governments; and stepping up measures to avoid home foreclosures.

For those worried about the deficit, Trumka insists that job creation and deficit reduction go hand in hand. “They complement one another,” he said. “You want to get rid of the deficit? Put 25 million people back to work and you won’t have a deficit problem.”

A new Associated Press-Gfk poll shows that only 3 in 10 white independents say that Obama deserves to be re-elected. In 2008, Obama won 50 percent of the white independent vote.

Gallup conducted a poll in August 2009 several months after Obama’s stimulus bill was passed. In that poll, only about one-third of independents believed that the stimulus bill would improve the economy, and two-thirds said they would oppose a second economic stimulus bill. [via Huff Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Post]

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