Get Out the Vote: Focus on Economic Justice
This post is part our weekly Get Out the Vote 2012 series, focusing on ways to promote civic engagement in your Jewish community and highlighting portions from the RAC’s Get Out the Vote 2012 guide. Today’s post focuses on economic justice, which is one of the many issues you can talk about as part of your voter education efforts. Check back every Monday for new updates.
At the center of the issues being debated in the 2012 election is that of the economy. Since the so-called “Great Recession” began in the fall of 2008, America has been on a rough road back to recovery. Ill-timed catastrophes and collapses across the world, like the tsunami in Japan and the European debt crisis have dealt repeated body blows to fragile recoveries. Despite strong job growth in the first few months of 2012, concerns that the recovery may again be slipping away are mounting.
It is this climate of turbulence and uncertainty that the winners of the 2012 election will inherit. Moving forward, concerns about the fragile recovery will also be balanced against ongoing concerns about the national debt- should it grow too large, it could act as an anchor around the legs of the economy, dragging it under.
Caught between these two threads– the twin needs of a robust recovery and reductions in the national debt– are millions of Americans struggling with hunger and poverty. In 2010, the most recent year with Democrats and Republicans have largely split on each of these two threads. Republicans, most notably House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, have concentrated their efforts on deficit reduction, best seen in the so-called Ryan budget. In the Republican view, cuts to domestic spending are necessary as a way of taming the deficit, a position that has sparked contentious debate on Capitol Hill.data available, some 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty, the highest total the in more than 50 years the Census Bureau has been reporting such figures. More than 48 million Americans were confronted by hunger during that time as well.
On the other side of the political playing field, Democrats have focused on fostering a robust recovery, believing that it is possible to have our (economic) cake and eat it too—a strong recovery can both put millions of Americans back to work, and generate new revenue for the government, permitting reduction of the deficit. President Obama’s budget proposal, in many ways, exemplifies this view, as does the American Jobs Act.
Your community can organize around issues of economic justice by getting involved in a state-level ballot initiative campaign, hosting an issue night or planning other programs. To learn more about how your congregation or organization can promote civic engagement this election season, download your copy of the Get Out the Vote 2012 guide now.