How we got into this mess • Conservative Economics wrecked our economy and crushed the middle class • Big banks and Wall Street gambled our economy to the ground, then got bailed out • Politicians gave tax breaks to the rich and corporations (the 1%) that ship jobs overseas, or create poverty-wage jobs in the U.S. • Austerity (cuts) took more money out of the economy, from the places we could least afford.
How to talk about it • The people who wrecked our economy should be paying for it, not profiting from it. • Most of us don’t expect to be rich, but we do expect to earn a decent living and good benefits for a hard day’s work – not paying for the mistakes of reckless Wall Street speculators.
Working People are the “job creators” • Our economic success is driven by investing in people so that every American has a good job, can educate their kids, support and care for their families, and retire with security.
Working people are the “job creators” • Our economy is sputtering today because working class buying power is stalling, as corporate profits and CEO pay soar. • Trickle-down tax cuts for the rich haven’t created jobs.
How to Talk About It • Working people create jobs by spending money on goods and services. • Cutting benefits, limiting opportunity, and freezing wages hurts us all by shrinking the buying power of working people. • We need to invest in good jobs, education, and health care for all to increase opportunity.
A strong middle class does not happen by accident, it’s a choice we make together. • We used to have an economic bargain between government, businesses, and labor. • Our leaders have an obligation to help grow the middle class.
How to Talk About It • Our economy isn’t something that happens to us. It is a choice that we make together. • The great American middle class didn’t just happen. It was built, brick by brick.
Talk is Cheap • Having the right message is not enough. We need to organize, we need to fight, and we need to take direct action. • The 1% in this country aren’t going to give us a better deal – we need to demand it and, if necessary, take it.
Small Groups • 12 years ago, a plant in your town shut down. Over 1,200 workers were displaced when the jobs were shipped to China. These were $25-$35/hour jobs with great health insurance and a defined-benefit pension. The town paid $1.5 million to remediate the site, based on a promise of a new apartment development. When the developer lost financing, the project was dead. It’s been a brownfield site for the past 10 years, and is an eyesore and an environmental scourge on the community. • Now, a new developer has offered to build a strip mall at the location, which will have a Panera Bread, a Radio Shack, a Pet World, and a Starbucks. The developer is asking the town council for tax-free financing and 14 years of zero property taxes. The town’s political leaders are eager to say “yes,” citing the jobs that it will bring to town. The town council meets again in 5 weeks and this issue will likely be on a fast-track, possibly voted on at that meeting. There is a Development Authority committee meeting in 10 days.
For More Info, Toolkits, etc. • Educationfund.usaction.org/pen/