Tuesday, February 03, 2009

alert: hold the line on the stimulus

from the National Women's Law Center:

Support the Economic Recovery Plan
Opponents of President Obama's economic recovery plan are doing everything they can to derail and weaken the bill. If they succeed, provisions that help women and families could be scaled back or eliminated — including health care, education, child care, Head Start, job training, and child support.
But with your help, we can make economic recovery a reality for women and their families. Please help us flood your Senators' offices with calls of support.

Will you take 5 minutes to call your Senators? Below is a script and toll-free number to make it easy for you to make a difference.
Please call 866-544-7573 and ask to be connected to your Senators. When you're connected to their offices, tell the person who answers the phone:
I am a constituent. My name is ____________.
As an advocate for women and their children, I urge you to vote for the economic recovery plan and oppose any weakening amendments.

Congress is currently getting a lot of calls on this issue. If you are unable to get through using the above number, please call the main Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or lookup your Senators' direct office lines in our directory. If you can't get through on the phone, you can also e-mail your Senators through our website.

For Illinois:
Sen. Durbin (202-224-2152)
Sen. Burris (202-224-2854)

my thoughts on this stimulus:
yes, the primary purpose is job recovery and infrastructure support to create employment opportunities.

but what the GOP doesn't seem to get is that folks are teetering on the brink of everyday ruin. if they don't get some kind of social support (in the form of child care support or even health care support - yes, birth control should be included in healthcare support because now is *not* the time for unintended pregnancies) then the bottom falls out of our state even faster.

most middle class and asset poor families are one emergency/disaster away from economic catastrophe so the 'social programs' folks are complaining about? these are the programs that help stave off whatever emergency could drop a family into a hole so deep, they have no chance of climbing out.

our government signed over $700 billion to the banking industry with the vague idea that, somehow, our largesse was going to trickle down to the little guy and help us out. somehow. that hasn't happened and likely won't.

but this bill can have an almost immediate material impact on us. community infrastructure support programs that impact families (said by the woman with no kids) can help a woman or man keep their job, or give them the ability to look for work without choosing between work and family.

more childcare centers = more available child care for infants and toddlers, allowing a mother to go to work;
money for the expansion of Medicaid = easing the burden of state budgets and allowing laid off workers to go back to work, as well as provide more benefits to the economically vulnerable;
stimulus checks and tax credits for individuals and families = a lower burden on moderate income families and single people (if we spend those checks);
money for violence prevention and sexual assault means organizations = sustained community infrastructure networks and continued services to victims of violence during this recession (is there a connection between economic downturns and upticks in violence? i think so.)

if public officials focus solely on the 'shovel ready' programs they forget about the people who should be holding those shovels - and that they have needs beyond employment.

and will someone please explain to me how giving another corporation another frikking tax break is going to help some faltering family through the next few years??

here's an anecdote to illustrate how immediately dire things are in our state:
a redundant-since-december friend told us on sunday that chicago's careerbuilder site had listings for only 39,000 jobs available in the tri-state area (IL, WI, and IN). normally, the average job posts for our area number at least 100k.

in november and december of 08, IL lost over 76k jobs - and more cuts are coming, once we enter fy10. and let's not forget folks who have been on unemployment for much longer but their benefits ran out a while ago. so i'm guessing there are probably more than 76,000 people out of work in this state. and right now, the stimulus bill is projecting maybe something like 136k jobs for our state.

our budget deficit? $2.5 billion.
our revenue outlook? what revenue?
what will illinois look like without this bill?

this isn't a perfect bill, by no means. it's not going to be a magic bullet and i think there's room for compromise. but we can't have an economic recovery built on the backs of low-moderate income and working poor people.

this bill - with social supports included - needs to pass. (the Senate version is here.)

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