FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2010
CLASP Statement Regarding State of the Union
A Main Street Agenda Must Address Needs of Low-Income People
Following is a statement by Alan W. Houseman, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), regarding President Obama's State of the Union Address. The president is expected to discuss middle class concerns, outline a plan for jobs creation and discuss a plan to freeze federal spending on some domestic programs.
"During his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is expected to focus on middle class concerns, jobs and the deficit. We look forward to hearing more details about the president's proposal to get American on track, but we also want to stress that any plan for economic recovery must also address the needs of the most vulnerable and those who aspire to join the middle class.
"Everyone in America has, in some capacity, felt the pinch of the nation's economic slowdown. But some have been more directly and deeply affected. Sixteen million Americans are officially unemployed, with a record share unemployed for more than six months. Millions more are underemployed or so discouraged that they are no longer looking for work. A disproportionate number of these workers are black or Hispanic or are low-skill and have only a high school diploma or less. High rates of joblessness have long-term consequences for individuals, children and families, and require bold short and long-term policy solutions
"Short-term solutions must create jobs that target low-income families and youth, provide assistance to the unemployed and vulnerable families, provide continuing aid to states to prevent severe cuts and additional job loss, and promote new solutions for the most vulnerable. Long-term solutions are necessary to help families thrive and improve the situation in distressed communities
"The White House has provided some details about the president's proposal to freeze some domestic spending for the next three years. We agree that ineffective programs should not continue to be funded; however, we want to ensure that those at the bottom do not bear the brunt of the costs of recovery. We will wait to hear the president's address to the nation and full budget proposal before reacting. However, in this time of increasing economic insecurity, rising unemployment and increasing poverty, the American public demands bold solutions that will put people to work and provide them with a foundation for long-term economic security. While we share the President's concern about the long-range budget outlook, removing needed supports before the economy is on stable ground will only set us further behind."