WASHINGTON - August 5 - Bread for the World president David Beckmann urged Congress to enact a second economic stimulus package in view of recently released data indicating continued job declines in the last seven months and a 5.7 percent unemployment rate in July.
He said that data released by the government last week suggests that rebate checks from the first economic stimulus package of 2008 helped to mitigate the impact of the slowing economy but not boost it. Many economists are concerned that the economy will further slow down later this year as the tax rebate money is spent.
"These latest job figures mean more bad news for working families, in addition to stagnant wages and skyrocketing costs for food and fuel," said Beckmann. "For America's working families, there is no relief in sight unless Congress moves quickly to enact critical economic relief legislation."
According to Beckmann, recent government data supports the case for a second stimulus package:
? Food prices have soared, with the cost of groceries 6.1 percent higher in June 2008 than in June 2007.
? Unemployment is now at its highest level since March 2004; one in five unemployed workers has been looking for a job for more than six months.
? Hourly earnings have risen only 3.4 percent over the last year, below the pace of inflation, which is currently more than 4 percent annually.
? Gas prices are at a national average of more than $4 a gallon, having increased 33 percent since June 2007.
? Foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions – are up 53 percent from June 2007.
He added that as members of Congress travel to their districts during their August recess, they will see firsthand how families are hurting. "Low-income families need help and they need it quickly," Beckmann said. "Congress must pass a second economic relief bill as soon as they return in September, including a temporary boost in food stamp benefits and funding to help nutrition programs for women and children keep up with higher food costs and meet rising needs."
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live. www.bread.org