Rep. John Lewis: Sequestration Hurts Recovery
We all should be encouraged that our economy is showing some signs of vitality. The Dow Jones average has been high, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 246,000 private sector jobs have been added in February alone, and jobs have increased every month for three straight years in that sector, totaling 6.35 million jobs. National unemployment fell last month to the lowest point since December 2008. All this is encouraging, but we are not out of the woods yet.
“Points on a graph do not tell the stories of suffering and struggle that some people in my district are still facing. Some have lost their homes and their families. They have been unemployed for years, are struggling with underwater mortgages, working more and getting paid less. They are barely making it. The World Economic Forum issued a warning that the gap between the haves and the have-nots has become a gulf almost too difficult to cross. And even though this Congress does have the power to relieve this suffering, it has never discussed any solution. Instead, without any apology it has looked for ways to cut deeper with a heartless disregard for the lives of millions of Americans they were elected to serve.
“This week, the House said yes to the loss of 750,000 jobs. Next week it will consider legislation that guts worker training programs and ties the hands of state governments that may want to innovate to help their citizens become gainfully employed. Congress has repeatedly targeted federal employees, including those who work in my district to protect us from disease, secure our airports, move products from our ports across the state, and process Social Security, veterans and tax return benefits.”
“The greatest tragedy is that we could balance the budget without placing this pain on millions of American families, if we only ask a wealthy few to pay their fair share. The people of this country need to understand what is happening here. A choice is being made by representatives you elected to sacrifice your well-being to preserve the profits of a wealthy few. You have the power to change that representation and you should. Make your voices heard.”