By Ken Sagar, President IFL
The U.S. economy shrunk slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, contracting by 0.1% instead of growing by 1% as analysts expected. It represents the first economic contraction since 2009.
It’s been a long and tough road. We need to move our economy forward. But after forcing trillions in cuts, causing layoffs, and strangling our economic growth, Republicans in Congress want to force European-style austerity on America — inviting another recession.
The massive hit to our economy will come from the “sequestration” cuts to domestic programs. This manufactured crisis is yet another ploy by Washington Republicans to hold our economy hostage in order to achieve their goals to hamstring our government’s ability to provide the necessary services on which so many Americans rely.
There’s no shortage of valuable work that our country needs done — from repairing crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, to spurring high-tech work like designing and building smart grid and renewable energy technology. The job creation from these necessary infrastructure investments will grow our economy today and into the future.
If the automatic spending cuts under sequestration go through in March, we will be cutting $4 in spending for every $1 in revenue — with 80% of the total money paid for by middle-class and low-income families instead of the wealthiest Americans or big corporations.
Due to all the loopholes and special tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations in our tax code, finding the money to help avoid the austerity cliff wouldn’t be hard: we can find $1 trillion in new revenue over 10 years by closing just a few of these special tax breaks.
We need to help our legislators have the backbone to address the needs of we the people and not the corporations and their wealthy CEOs.