News Release

The Economy: Now What?


Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Pollin wrote “Economic Slide Makes Spending Respectable” in today’s Los Angeles Times. He said today: “U.S. economic policymakers have failed for almost a year to respond adequately to the looming global recession. As the stock market plunge makes clear, the calamitous events of September 11 certainly strengthen the recessionary forces, and therefore the likelihood that unemployment, poverty and social despair will spread. But the solution to the recession post September 11 is now also obvious: large-scale injections of government spending, even if the federal surplus evaporates. The perennial issue with government spending is whether the funds will be used effectively. One standard appropriate to the September 11 tragedy would seem clear: to use government funds to protect innocent people everywhere from further terrorist attacks as well as self-defeating cycles of violent reprisals.”

Professor emeritus of economics at Bryn Mawr College and author of Accumulation and Power: An Economic History of the United States, Du Boff wrote in Friday’s Philadelphia Inquirer: “George W. Bush stated last fall, and repeats as president, that when you look at taxes or the government surplus, ‘It’s not the government’s money. It’s your money.’ And yet the Bush administration plans a multibillion-dollar bailout for our airlines, already in financial trouble even before September 11. So it’s not your money — it’s the airlines’ money? America’s airlines do need help — but if the national government can step in and help a private industry and its shareholders at a moment’s notice, why is it wrong, or wasteful or a threat to ‘freedom,’ for government to provide increasing and long-term support for our economic and social infrastructure?” Du Boff said today: “U.S. military spending was already running at an annual rate of about $350 billion — which is 70 percent more than the next five combined (Russia, Japan, the UK, France, China). More military spending is not going to make us safer…. The grotesquely expensive ‘missile defense system’ is worthless for our defense; even if successful, it would not protect us against any real threats that terrorists pose. Right now, there is essentially only one party in Congress; the Democrats have abandoned their role in debating, or even analyzing, the administration’s plans to escalate military spending.”
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Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the author of Neo-Liberalism or Democracy?, MacEwan said today: “The administration seems to be using this tragedy to continue its policy of transferring wealth to corporations and ignoring the plight of working people. For example, the Senate just restored $1.3 billion back to the so-called ‘missile defense system’ — even though the events of September 11 have shown it to be irrelevant to our security. Spending this much money for this project is a huge boondoggle. The administration has moved very rapidly for a large bailout of the airlines, yet we see no similar concern for the tens of thousands of workers who were laid off by the airline industry. In the past, war rhetoric has been used to suppress workers’ demands for a fair share of the economy and unfortunately we may see such a turn of events again. When corporations were making super-profits, there were no initiatives or calls to share the wealth with the working people, but as soon as things take a downturn we hear calls for sharing the burden. Also, let us not forget that a recession was already developing before September 11 so we may be bailing out corporations whose troubles did not originate with the tragedy of September 11.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167