With tens of millions of Americans unemployed, underemployed, or worried they will soon be out of work, job creation is the most important issue facing the nation.
One of the most tried and true ways to get people back to work is building and improving infrastructure. Federal investment in infrastructure generates private sector jobs in construction, engineering and design, and manufacturing and supply. Every $1 billion we invest in infrastructure we create or sustain over 34,000 private sector jobs and produces $6.2 billion in economic activity.
There are 150,000 bridges across the nation in need substantial repair or replacement. We have a $70-80 billion backlog in transit maintenance projects. On the Willamette River, the aging flood control systems are operating at 85% capacity because the Army Corps of Engineers needs $100 million for repairs.
We can put millions of people to work if Congress invested adequately in a 21st century transportation system. Insisting on strong "Made in America" requirements would ensure the benefits of these federal projects reached a broad spectrum of the American economy. Our economic competitors are investing billions in state of the art infrastructure. We must do the same.
But the House Republicans are neglecting this opportunity and instead passed a budget that would cut infrastructure funding by 35 percent. This cut in funds will eliminate nearly 500,000 jobs.
Their sole approach to create jobs is to continue on with the mantra that we need more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the so-called “job creators.” But tax cuts don't create jobs. We have had the worst job creation numbers since World War II in the ten years the Bush tax cuts have been in place, and these cuts have added $4.9 trillion to the federal budget deficit.
The Social Security payroll tax holiday didn't create jobs either. Extending the payroll tax holiday will surely undermine the long-term solvency of Social Security forcing the federal government to borrow $110 billion to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund.
The Administration is proposing three new free-trade agreements that were negotiated by George Bush. They will do nothing to create jobs for Americans. Past free trade agreements have eroded our manufacturing base, and cost us 5 million manufacturing jobs, including 53,000 in Oregon.
Americans everywhere want to work and contribute to our country by paying taxes, not collecting unemployment or depending on food stamps and social services. They don't want to leave their children and grandchildren a massive debt, or privatize Social Security because Congress depleted the Trust Fund, or cut veterans' benefits to balance the budget. They are worried about outsourcing thousands of additional American jobs and putting higher education out of reach for working families. They are afraid Congress will slash Social Security and Medicare benefits, and they have no patience for more partisan gridlock or the "my way or the highway" attitude of some of the obstinate members of Congress.
I will continue to keep fighting for robust infrastructure investments. If you are interested in getting the unemployment rate down to five percent which would eliminate a quarter of the federal budget deficit, I need your help.
I intend to work tirelessly to repeal the Bush tax cuts. Business leaders, like Warren Buffet, also agree it is time to "stop coddling the billionaires,” and save $5 trillion over 10 years cutting the deficit in half.
I opposed NAFTA and other poorly designed trade deals that have outsourced millions of family wage jobs, and am leading an effort to put a moratorium on "free trade" agreements until Congress adopts new trade policies to bring and keep jobs home.
But to do all of this, I need your support.
The billionaire hedge fund manager from New York who spent $760,000 to defeat me last election is back too. He has already contributed the maximum amount an individual can give in the primary cycle to Robinson's campaign. He is bitterly opposed to my Wall Street speculator tax and my support for legislation to make him pay taxes at the rate of working Americans.
The last election demonstrated that my outspoken support for the best interests of working families rather than special interests has earned me some powerful and well-funded enemies during my tenure in the Congress. Your support was vitally important then and will be again. Your contribution of $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, or $2,500 will help me remain an independent voice in Washington, D.C.
You can make a contribution using the enclosed envelop, by using a credit card through my secure website at www.defazioforcongress.org, or by calling my office at (541)485-1622.