Rabbi Saperstein: "In facing the jobs crisis affecting the American economy and people, all our leaders must think boldly and consider a range of options while working together on the nation's behalf. Each party should consider with an open mind proposals to ease the crisis."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 9th, 2011 -- In response to President Obama's speech outlining his proposed American Jobs Act, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
In facing the jobs crisis affecting the American economy and people, all our leaders must think boldly and consider a range of options while working together on the nation's behalf. Each party should consider with an open mind proposals to ease the crisis. To that end, we welcome President Obama's proposal to help the United States move beyond these trying economic times. The ongoing high unemployment levels, the threats to retirement security for older Americans, and the lack of growth in our economy are negatively impacting every aspect of our society. Last night's speech was important, and quick action will be required to ensure the most vulnerable among us are no longer at risk.
At the top of the priority list must be measures that assist individuals struggling with unemployment and the corresponding difficulties in providing for their families. Last week, the government announced that unemployment was unchanged in August, at 9.1 percent. This week, the government announced that in 2010, nearly 49 million Americans lived in households struggling against hunger; 16 million of those Americans are children. For these reasons, and so many others, President Obama's call to extend unemployment insurance, reinvest in communities and create jobs is vital and must be acted upon swiftly.
We also appreciate the President's statement that payroll tax cuts, designed to put more money in Americans' pockets, will not negatively impact the Social Security Trust Fund. Any moves toward cuts to vital social safety net programs, like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are precisely the wrong way to provide for those most in need and ensure the government meets its responsibilities to its citizens.
We are told in Proverbs (31:9) to "speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy." At this difficult moment in our history, we call on Congress and the White House to work together to champion the needs of their constituents.