[Bailout] Help set next steps in economic agenda in time of opportunity
[Bailout] Help us set the next steps in our economic advocacy agenda in this time of great opportunity
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October 10, 2008http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1331/t/8004/tellafriend.jsp?tell_a_friend_KEY=3348
Dear james m,
Thank you for taking action to stop or improve the bailout. We had a significant impact with 50,000 letters being sent to Congress and the media through the CFACP website. This is just the beginning of our effort. I want to give you a sense of where we plan to go with this issue and get your feedback. I hope you will contribute $5 or more of support, respond to a brief survey and send this e-letter to your friends, family and associates to help us set the next steps in our economic advocacy agenda.
The passage of the bailout legislation is not going to solve the economic crisis the United States is facing. Even the day the legislation passed Members of Congress were expressing concern it would not be enough and there is talk in DC about them coming back to pass an economic package. The stock market has been in decline since the passage of the bailout, the Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39 percent, since closing at 14,198 a year ago. And, last week we saw the biggest reductions in payrolls in five years with unemployment rising and no net job growth in the private sector for almost a year. Inflation is at its highest level in 17 years and likely to get worse as more money is pumped into the economy. More than 800 federally insured finance institutions failed in the last three years and up to 100 more bank failures are predicted in the next year. The national debt has increased by more than 65 percent, to $10 trillion in the last eight years (not counting the debts of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which the government is responsible for). The U.S. is fighting two wars, the price tag of Iraq alone will exceed $3 trillion.
The U.S. is on the verge of a revolutionary paradigm shift as not only is the finance system faltering but the old energy economy of fossil fuels has become too expensive and dangerous due to its carbon emissions. The wealth divide where the wealthiest 400 people have as much wealth of the bottom 195 million Americans has become obscene and apparent to all. The infrastructure has been long neglected and demands multi-trillions in investment. Further, people have lost faith in the major institutions in America – the presidency and Congress are very unpopular, as are the Democrats and Republicans. The corporations and media are no longer trusted.
While this is a dismal list it is also a time of great opportunity. Change that has been resisted for decades is going to be forced upon elected officials and if the people show the type of commitment we saw during the bailout – we will be able to create an economy that serves us, rather than just the wealthiest. Some of the changes we intend to advocate for include:
Democratizing the economy. This means more employee-owned businesses and real shareholder rights in setting the direction of companies they invest in.
Equity stake rather than corporate welfare. Each year the government provides more than $100 billion in corporate welfare that could be turned into an investment in the economy. Every taxpayer should share ownership and profits of corporations that accept tax dollars or tax breaks.
A new clean energy economy that is fossil fuel and nuclear free. The new energy economy’s foundation will be distributed energy, i.e. disbursed to the local level where businesses, homes, cars and communities are creating energy and using it efficiently. It will provide an opportunity to share the wealth created by energy. The green economy will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
A rebuilt infrastructure that is consistent with a new energy economy. This will need to include an end to subsidizing sprawl by encouraging development around new mass transit centers rather than new roads. The infrastructure will be built to move wind energy across the U.S. and put in place large solar installations and ocean energy sources. These are just a few among many infrastructure upgrades that will be essential and create jobs that cannot be sent overseas.
A re-ordered tax structure that reduces the tax burden on working Americans while putting in place taxes on the purchase of stocks, bonds and derivatives, as well as increased taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
The issue is not whether these changes are technically feasible or whether the funds are available (as we saw with the bailout, if funds are needed they are found) – the roadblock is political will. On this front, Americans are more engaged than ever in taking action on the economy. During the battle of the bailout, Congress was forced to shut down their email system because it was overwhelmed by letters of opposition. People are finding uncommon allies as concerns cross partisan lines and the political spectrum. People now know they can make a difference. I hope you will send this e-letter to your friends, family and associates so they can join with us in this critical time and stay informed about activities responding to the bailout as well as our emerging economic advocacy agenda and campaign actions.
We need your help to chart the next steps in this effort. I hope you will respond to a brief survey so we have your thoughts. It includes room for you to send broad comments on where you think economic advocacy should be moving.
Thank you again for your action on this issue. Together, we did make a difference. I hope you will support our efforts with a contribution of $5 or more today. If every one gave $5 we could raise over $60,000 to establish a strong footing for the battles ahead.