INVEST IN AMERICA WEEKLY ROUNDUP
This week, Invest in America and Invest in America Action continued its work on the frontlines in the fight for robust economic stimulus and Covid relief:
Released a letter signed by more than 200 officials from President Obama’s administration — including six Cabinet secretaries — urging the passage of the American Rescue Plan and to not let Congressional Republicans or those arguing against going big sabotage the recovery efforts like they attempted to do during the Great Recession. This letter was released by Invest In America Action. Read coverage in the New York Times, Forbes, and The Hill.
Held a press call with expert economists including Former Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute Josh Bivens, Harvard economist Anna Stansbury, and American University economist Gabriel Mathy to on the need for additional relief and stimulus after the CBO reportsaid that unemployment rates won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Read the press release here.
Partnered with Data for Progress to release a new poll that found that a majority of voters support Congress passing a larger coronavirus stimulus bill as soon as possible — even if it doesn’t garner support from Republican lawmakers. Read coverage in Business Insider and Huffpost.
Debuted “Spend Your McConnell Money,” a new microsite from Invest in America Action that shows just how far the $600 direct checks they passed in December’s stimulus package can stretch for a struggling family (hint: not far…).
Launched a new digital ad, “$1.9 Trillion vs. $1.9 Trillion,” highlighting how Congressional Republicans passed a $1.9 trillion tax bill when it benefited big corporations and wealthy interests in 2017, but are now balking at the same price tag when it would help struggling Americans put food on the table, help local governments keep first responders on the job and get people vaccinated, and keep small businesses afloat.
COVERAGE OF THE LETTER FROM FORMER OBAMA OFFICIALS:
More than 200 members of the Obama administration urged Congress on Friday not to shrink its stimulus bill in response to Republicans’ criticism about deficit spending, warning that Democrats risked repeating the same mistake they made 12 years ago, amid the last economic crisis.
The signers of the open letter argue that the decision by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009 to pass a stimulus of $787 billion, less than what some economists at the time said was needed, unnecessarily prolonged the Great Recession.
Hundreds of staffers from the Obama administration penned an open letter Friday urging Democrats to pass a large stimulus package, rejecting calls for a smaller and more targeted relief bill — but one-time Obama economic advisor Laurence Summers disagrees, saying President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion package might be too large.
More than 200 Obama administration officials signed a letter released Friday urging Congress to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan while criticizing those who say the massive stimulus bill is too big.
The letter comes as Biden, his top economic aides, congressional Democrats and liberal economists rebut concerns that the president’s proposed stimulus bill is unnecessarily expensive and could spur rampant inflation.
COVERAGE OF THE INVEST IN AMERICA/DATA FOR PROGRESS POLL:
Business Insider: Most Voters Want a Big Stimulus — And They Want it Fast
A new poll from Invest in America and Data for Progress finds that the majority of Americans, including Republicans, wants to pass emergency relief quickly – and voters want a lot of it.
The groups surveyed 1,126 likely voters from January 29, 2021 through February 1, 2021. What they found was that 69% of respondents agreed that the country is in an emergency, and more relief should be passed as soon as possible.
The progressive groups Data for Progress and Invest in America released a poll Wednesday that found 68% of voters want emergency relief “as soon as possible,” and 55% say to move forward with only Democratic votes, if necessary.
This week, Invest in America, along with the progressive think tank Data for Progress, released polling data that assesses the public’s opinion of critical parts of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, like funding for vaccine and testing distribution, support for small businesses, and extended moratoriums on utilities or evictions.
It turns out that even in a nation as divided as ours, voters overwhelmingly agree: it’s time to go big and invest in America.
COVERAGE OF INVEST IN AMERICA ACTION’S PRESS CALL ON MONDAY’S CBO REPORT:
On a call organized by Invest in America, a new group in Washington that is pushing lawmakers to spend aggressively on economic aid, Anna Stansbury, an economist at Harvard Program in Inequality and Social Policy, said the budget office estimates suggested “the true labor market story is that we might not reach full employment until the late years of the 2020s.”
Ms. Stansbury said that delay in reaching full employment — when nearly everyone who wants to work has a job — would mean “unconscionably high unemployment, particularly for African-American and Hispanic workers. The plan that President Biden is proposing will help us reach full employment exceptionally faster than the track we’re on right now.”
Still, economists are urging additional federal relief to prevent long-term damage to the US economy.
“CBO projections are completely consistent with the view that the risks of going too small dramatically outweighs the risk of going too big,” Gene Sperling, a former top economic advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said in a press call with reporters on Monday.
He pointed to Federal Reserve projections indicating that workers in the bottom-wage quartile are experiencing a Depression-era unemployment rate of 20%. That’s in stark contrast to the 5% jobless rate for workers in the top wage quartile.
“The advocacy group Invest in America, which supports the Biden plan, held a conference call where economists said the CBO report shows the need for stimulus to increase hiring.
There’s no reason to suffer through high unemployment just because the Republicans think it’s prudent to shrink the number,” said Gabriel Mathy, assistant professor of economics at American University.
Left-leaning activists are already using the CBO report to push the President not to compromise with Republicans and shrink his proposal.
“This report makes clear that much more needs to be done to get people back on the job,” said Zac Petkanas, senior advisor of Invest in America, an advocacy group. “We can’t afford half-measures that nibble around the edges. Our nation requires big, bold public investment now to get people back to work as soon as possible.
The nation’s unemployment rate will not return to its pre-pandemic levels through the rest of this decade, meaning millions of workers could be out of work even after the vaccine is widely distributed, according to a projection released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.