September 1, 2011

Mr. President, It Is Time to Think Big

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement issued by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Joseph Hansen:“Daniel Burnham, the preeminent Chicago architect who designed the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington, D.C., once said, ‘Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.’ “This Labor Day, the national unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, and more and more of the country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few at the expense of working Americans. It is clear that we need to think big and create a bold jobs plan that will lift Americans out of poverty and rebuild the middle class. But as the country waits for President Obama’s jobs speech next week, too many in Congress are still creating a confusing conversation focused on cutting the deficit at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens—a tactic that will do nothing to create new jobs. “The wasted economic potential of the millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed is a national tragedy that must be addressed. But the tragedy goes deeper than statistics alone. In all this turmoil, many Americans have lost confidence in their government and believe they will never achieve the American dream of owning a home, sending their children to college or retiring comfortably. If the national conversation continues to be manipulated by those who put their own interests ahead of the poor and middle class, our country will never fully recover from this downward economic spiral. “It is time to announce a bold infrastructure rebuilding plan to fix our roads, bridges, schools, airports, railways and seaports. It is time to invest in a WPA-type jobs program to clean up and fix up abandoned and vacant properties to alleviate blight in distressed neighborhoods.“Investing in our country will pay big dividends today and in the future. Having our government prime the pump will create infrastructure jobs which, in turn, will have a wave effect across our entire economy and create jobs in all our economic sectors. These newly created jobs will also generate additional tax revenue. Most importantly, this new influx of jobs will restore the confidence of our citizens in our country and in our government. It is time to think big.”