Working people to Congress: "Pass real relief, not corporate handouts"
Mark Piotrowski
Alachua County Labor Party
November/December 2001

The debate in Congress about Bush's so-called economic stimulus package underscores the Labor Party's call for both a constitutional right to a job and a fair tax system. If we were all guaranteed a job or income at a living wage, Congress would be debating how to put the 500,000 Americans back to work in the wake of September 11th. Wouldn't that be great debate? Would we rebuild the nation's infrastructure? Give every teacher a full-time aide? Clean up the environment? Create a system of universal health care or daycare?

Instead, Congress is busy arguing about how much money to hand over to corporations, in the hopes they'll use it to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Yeah, right.

"Republicans suggest that giving corporations money will keep them from cutting back on workers. But Congress just handed the airlines $15 billion and they proceeded to lay off 140,000 workers," said Robert L. Borosage, co-director for Campaign for America's Future at an Oct. 24 press conference. The AFL-CIO is asking people to call their Senators and urge them to support a relief package that includes health care and unemployment benefits for laid-off workers:

"Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, more than 570,000 layoffs have been announced and the economy is suffering its worst downturn since the early 1990s. Working families are in need of real assistance to help them make it through tough times when the paycheck stops. They need help to buy groceries, pay the rent & afford health insurance.

"But the only response from Congress and the White House so far has been a $100 billion economic stimulus package that earmarks almost $90 billion for tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy and provides virtually no guaranteed help for laid-off workers & their families...

"The AFL-CIO has proposed a comprehensive stimulus package that includes extended unemployment benefits to an expanded pool of workers, health care assistance, job retaining, assistance to struggling states and cities and other investments that will spark economic recovery." (See

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