The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Germonique R. Ulmer

Political Reckoning: Don't Throw Unemployed Workers Under the Bus for Millionaire Tax Cuts

Statement by Deepak Bhargava of the Center for Community Change


Federally-funded unemployment benefits are set to expire on November 30 impacting nearly 2 million U.S. workers. The following is a statement by Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change:

"Our nation is suffering from the longest and deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. With five unemployed workers for every one job opening, these are desperate times for American workers and for our country. Extending unemployment benefits is critical to keeping families and our economy afloat until the private sector begins to create jobs. Three in four Americans support extending the benefits.

"Never in the program's history has Congress cut back on federally-funded benefits when unemployment was over 7.2 percent. Unemployment now stands at 9.6 percent and at a staggering 16.1 percent in African American communities. Unfortunately, it's tax cuts that seem to be getting all the ink in Washington these days. Most economists agree that reestablishing George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans will do little to create jobs or spur the economy and do much to increase our deficit.

"This is a political moment in which we can begin to reverse 30 years of misplaced economic priorities. Most of the benefits of economic growth in recent years have been captured by a small group at the top of the ladder. We must invest in the real needs of people who, right now, are counting on their government to stand behind its workers, help them feed and clothe their families and keep our economy moving forward."

The mission of the Center for Community Change is to develop the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better.