Tag Archives: Human Needs

The Next Economic Stimulus Should Help Those Who Need it Most

First the banks were bailed out.  Then it was the insurance companies.  The auto industry will be next.

When will the those who really need it get their bailout?

There will be another economic stimulus package in the next few months.  President-elect Obama made it clear at his first press conference last week:  “If it does not get done in a lame-duck session, it will be the first thing I do as president of the United States.” A glance at headlines from the past few days drives the seriousness of the situation home:

L.A. Times:  Unemployment rate hits 6.5%, a 14-year high

Postal Service Looks To Cut 40,000 Jobs In First Layoff In History

Working Poor and Young Hit Hard in Downturn

McDonald’s same-store sales rise 8.2 percent

If the Coalition on Human Needs gets their way the answer to the question above will be sooner than you might think.  The Coalition’s new report, Towards Shared Recovery (pdf), makes the case for an economic stimulus package for boosting the economy by providing assistance to those who need it most.

Here are the specifics of what the report proposes:

The report:

presents Congress with key items that should be part of an effective stimulus package, including an increase in nutrition assistance, an expansion of unemployment insurance, investments in infrastructure and job creation, additional aid for states, help for victims of home foreclosure, and increased funding for Head Start, child care and child support programs.

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of CHN, explains: “Economists tell us that providing aid to low- and moderate-income people is the most effective way to boost the economy.”  The need for an additional economic stimulus package is well understood.  Others are calling for it from throughout the political spectrum…

Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke:

“with the economy likely to be weak for several quarters, and with some risk of a protracted slowdown, consideration of a fiscal package by the Congress at this juncture seems appropriate.”

Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist for the research firm Global Insight:

“Effectively, the Fed chairman is giving Congress a green light to go ahead with an additional fiscal stimulus package”

Douglas W. Elmendorf, former Treasury and Federal Reserve Board economist and fellow at the Brookings Institution:

“We need fiscal stimulus. The outlook is much darker than it was even a few months ago.”

Plenty of great work is being done in the private sector, but it is not enough.

A foundation driven effort called Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity is pushing President-elect Obama to make poverty reduction a hallmark of his administration.  The Open Society Institute (Baltimore Chapter) has just awarded $450,000 in fellowships to eight creative individuals who are working to support underserved communities in Baltimore.  These types of programs are extremely valuable, and I applaud them.

But the fact remains that the private sector alone can not provide the types of supports and investments the American people right now.  Only a broad economic stimulus, targeted to help lower-income Americans, can get our country back on the right track.  Towards Shared Prosperity provides an excellent framework for such a stimulus program.