A letter from John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies, and Joy Zarembka, Associate Director of the Institute for Policy Studies:
We’re optimistic that President Obama will use his State of the Union address tonight to shift the national debate from austerity to jobs.
But what’s critical is to promote not just any jobs but “transition” jobs. We need to transition away from a fossil-fueled, speculative, exploitative, and militarized economy that serves the needs of Wall Street, Walmart, and Lockheed Martin instead of the American people.
We need new jobs that empower people to build a vibrant, caring, green Main Street economy. We need dignified jobs to care for our elders. We need recycling and composting jobs that will slow the growth of unsustainable landfills.
Conservatives will say we’re broke and can’t afford jobs programs. Together, we must remind Americans that there would be abundant resources to invest in pressing needs if we ensure that the wealthy, corporations, Wall Street, and polluters pay their fair share of taxes and if we cut fossil fuel subsidies and wasteful military spending.
At IPS, we’re also hopeful that Obama will use his speech to push Congress to pass strong immigration reform, real gun control, and the overdue renewal of a strengthened Violence Against Women’s Act.
At the same time, we cannot let him use Congress as an excuse for inaction. There are many key steps the administration can take without Congress. It can end drone attacks, shutter coal plants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reject the Keystone XL pipeline, ensure basic labor rights for domestic workers, and pardon prisoners who were unjustly sentenced. With creative and forceful public pressure, we can win all of this in 2013.
IPS will provide the facts, figures, analysis, and links to movements that can create the pressure for change. With your support, IPS can continue this crucial work.
John Cavanagh, Director
Joy Zarembka, Associate Director
Institute for Policy Studies