Recently I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for some items. Ahead of me was a young African-American woman trying to pay for some groceries with a food stamp card. The cashier told her she didn’t have enough money on her card for the items and asked if she has any other way to pay. Embarrassed, she pulled two dollars from her pocket and paid for only one item, a head of lettuce. This is not a story from a Dickens novel or from a third world country, this happened in Alexandria VA a stone’s throw from our nation’s capital.
Liberals would tell you the answer is easy: just give her more assistance. But what she needs is job where she can earn a wage that enables her to provide for herself and her family.
Millions of stories just like this reflect a “quiet depression” in the U.S. We don’t see rebellion in the streets, or bread lines, or Wall Street executives jumping from their office windows. What we see is a quiet desperation as Americans seek to make ends meet in lesser paying jobs, or no jobs. Many are existing on minimal subsistence government programs. Americans know that what is needed is not merely survival, but optimism and opportunity. Opportunity is needed not just for them but for the good of our nation.
America seems to be following a “wait and see” attitude, believing that if we just stand pat, things will get better. The challenge is that even if we show real growth again in America, we must do more. We must grow GREATER than 3.2% to return to historical pattern of growth, and to reemploy our citizens and to give them real opportunity.
The Full Employment Initiative believes that there is a need for bold action to reignite the American economy. Failure to take real action to spur investment and growth costs our young people, minority communities, and all Americans every day. Even a return to a reasonable rate of growth will not recapture the lost wages, savings and opportunities that have been lost in the last five years. Only aggressive action offers any hope of regaining for all Americans what we have lost through standing pat. Bold initiative must be taken now. No other path is acceptable.