Reflections on PEP Fall Program

Mike Prokosch argues that locally based initiatives are necessary to push reform now. Rich and powerful interests in this country, with special help from conservative republicans, are trying to restructure the country, in a way that would lock the inequities in place for years to come. He described the debt crisis in the country and the different approaches by members of the two parties in congress – republicans refusing to accept any tax increases, especially on those in the highest income brackets, and democrats seemingly willing to give on big cuts on entitlements and on the non-defense sector of the discretionary budget.

His approach is that groups like PEP with its relatively narrow focus, need to join others to form a broad based coalition willing to fight for 4 goals – 1) Creating Jobs, 2) Saving basic safety-net services, 3) Raising taxes, and 4) Cutting the Military. Mike noted initiatives around the country that seem to making an impact. For example, a group in Durham, North Carolina has convinced the City Council to adopt a resolution addressing the four points, and to push their congressional delegation as well. He stressed the importance of convincing mayors and county executives to use their lobbyists for this cause in Washington. He suggested that having the coalition show up at local events, like the closing of a library or park, or a foreclosure hearing, was an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of rebalancing priorities in this country.

In summary, the 2012 election, and the months leading up to it will constitute a major opportunity for the exchange of ideas important to our future. A lot of money and advertising will be spent trying to hide and confuse the real issues. Those who believe in PEP and groups like it need to push hard, waking people out of their apathy and educating them about what a fair and prosperous future will require.

Charles Kindleberger

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