Rev. dr. Janis c. Brooks for 18th Pennsylvania congressional district
We need to return to a long-term and sustainable federal budget of the kind that was President Clinton’s legacy. This would be a prudent policy because it would protect our long-run economic security and avoid a growing national debt. While we need to keep our eye on our long-run national debt, we should not be fooled by those who advocate austerity in these harsh economic times of high unemployment, when policies of fiscal austerity themselves depress the economy even more, and slow down the job-creating capacity of an already sluggish economy.
In the short run, such measures of austerity (such as the so-called Sequester that was imposed on the nation in 2013) actually make things worse by undermining our social safety net, creating lay-offs of government employees, and cutbacks in government contracts—this at a time when the commonsense policy would be to stimulate jobs and putting our hard-pressed people to work by developing our infrastructure. These measures further intensify the economic insecurity of our workers, prevent them from receiving the education and training they need to increase their job-competitiveness, and also unfairly target the poor. Measures have to be taken to introduce modest increases in the taxes paid by higher-income earners who have benefited tremendously from the global expansion of the last two decades, and use the revenues to develop our infrastructure that would help us maintain our competitiveness, build the skills of our workers and thereby help them compete against workers from nations such as China, Brazil, India, and South Korea. These added revenues would also help us maintain a robust defense posture and enable us to protect and strengthen our social safety net.