News Release

Stimulus Package

AVIS JONES-DeWEEVER
Director of the Research, Public Policy, and Information Center for African American Women, Jones-DeWeever said today: “The recently announced House stimulus package can be summed up in one phrase, ‘too little, too late.’ History tells us that effective stimulus plans have three qualities: they’re quick, they’re temporary, and they’re targeted to the people who need help most. Focusing assistance to those at the bottom isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the economically sound thing to do since they’re the ones most likely to act in the way such plans seek to encourage. The House plan is flawed because those who will benefit from it the most are not the ones who are most needy. As currently crafted, the proposed tax rebates are significantly reduced for working poor families — exactly the ones who would spend rather than stockpile the cash.”

HEIDI HARTMANN
President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Hartmann said today: “The compromise stimulus package between the House and the White House leaves a lot to be desired. Those who have been out of work — and the number with more than 26 weeks of unemployment has increased by more than 250,000 workers since one year ago — really need extended unemployment benefits. Many low-income people whether working or not would truly benefit from food stamps to increase their spending power. These needs, coupled with the fact that everyone seems to agree that these benefits would get to people much more quickly than the tax cuts and thus would really serve as an immediate stimulus, make the actions of the Democrats in the House all the more mysterious. For women who head families on their own, unemployment is always bad news. They have an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent compared with 3.1 percent for married women and 4.9 percent for all women.”

ALICE O’CONNOR
Author of Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy and the Poor in Twentieth Century U.S. History, O’Connor said today: “With rare bipartisan agreement on the need for economic stimulus, Congress has an opportunity to break the stranglehold of conservative economic orthodoxy: by reviving such progressive fiscal policy tools as extended unemployment benefits, aid to states and localities to meet rising Medicaid and infrastructure costs, and targeted social welfare spending; and by using these tools to channel funds where they are needed most. Thus far, Congress has failed to meet the challenge. In the stimulus package agreed to on January 24th, House leaders dropped these proven and widely-supported spending measures in favor of an estimated $150 billion in individual tax rebates and business tax cuts — basically adhering to the narrow logic of tax ‘relief’ at the expense of an approach that would make working and middle-class security and public investment the leading edge of economic recovery. As the Senate, and the broader public, weigh in on the still-pending proposal, they will have a chance to restore progressivity to the stimulus package — and to the broader debate about what economic priorities for the future should be.” O’Connor is professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167