The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kucinich: We Can't Wait for the Banks to Save Us

N.E.E.D. Act Will Give State and Local Governments Freedom to Balance Budgets and Fund Much-Needed Infrastructure


As President Obama and Governor Romney square off with competing economic speeches in Ohio, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sent a letter to Congressional colleagues highlighting the urgent need to reassert Congressional authority over American monetary policy in order to build an economy that works for all Americans. H.R. 2990, The National Emergency Employment Defense Act (The N.E.E.D. Act), would allow Congress to make much-needed investments in our infrastructure and put Americans back to work. The bill was introduced in the 112th Congress with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).

In his letter, Kucinich highlighted a recent New York Times column about the hundreds of millions of dollars in interest rates being paid each year by state and local governments to the Wall Street banks who handled their bond issuances. Approximately 80% of transit agencies nationwide have been forced to cut back on services and raise fares. At the same time, many are paying hundreds of millions of dollars each year in interest rates that banks refuse to renegotiate into lower-interest loans.

"The Great Recession, brought to us in large part by Wall Street, caused a massive drop in revenue that states and localities depend on, forcing them to cut all but the most necessary costs. As Americans who depend on public transportation for their livelihood have watched helplessly, state and local governments have had been forced to cancel or cut service, or indefinitely delay much-needed improvement projects as they bear the ongoing burden of having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars worth of high-interest-rate loans to Wall Street banks. Even now, after trillions in bailouts on behalf of those banks, they wrongly refuse to renegotiate those loans," said Kucinich.

"I introduced H.R. 2990, the National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011 because it is wrong that Americans are beholden to the private financial institutions that put their own greed ahead of rebuilding our economy. Under the N.E.E.D. Act, new money would be spent into circulation as the economy grows and that money would be used to pay for infrastructure, education, renewable energy, and other projects as appropriated by Congress. It would create real wealth and career opportunities in millions of new, good jobs, without inflation.

See the letter here.

Dennis Kucinich is an American politician. A U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1997 to 2013, he was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2004 and 2008.