Jesse Jackson Challenges the Unemployed to March on Washington, Doesn’t Suggest How They’ll Afford to Get There

Those at the top need to hear from those suffering at the bottom. The unemployed need to march on Washington to demand work. –Rev. Jesse Jackson

In an Aug. 30 Huffington Post article Jesse Jackson wrote titled, “They Hate Government, Until They Need It,” he pointed out the hypocrisy of Republican leaders who claim they want small government, but are the first to jump in line for federal assistance after a natural disaster like Hurricane Irene devastates their local economies.

Jackson also railed against the Republicans and their willingness to spend, spend, spend on wars, tax cuts for the rich and corporate subsidies, while they consistently say no, no, no to policies that might relieve the suffering of millions of Americans whose lives have been devastated as a result of bad decisions made on The Hill when Republicans led the country for eight years with President George W. Bush.

“The economic disaster is a man-made — not a natural — disaster, and now, it will take federal action to repair the damage,” said Jackson.

Jackson mentioned President Obama’s recent announcement that he will release a jobs agenda in September with a range of ideas meant to help those hardest hit in this floundering economy. Among those ideas are an extension of payroll tax cuts as well as an unemployment insurance extension,  and an investment in America’s infrastructure.

Jackson called those plans “dead on arrival,” adding, “Conservatives embrace federal help after natural disasters, but scorn it in the wake of the man-made economic calamity.”

“Little is likely to happen — unless people get in motion,” warns the Reverend. “Those at the top need to hear from those suffering at the bottom. The unemployed need to march on Washington to demand work.”

Although his criticisms of the conservatives’ lack of compassion for struggling Americans is valid, it seems a bit insensitive of Jackson to challenge the most economically disenfranchised people in the country, who are already desperate to pay their bills and feed their families, to somehow fund a trip to Washington, D.C.  Even if the most creative among them could pool their resources and set up caravans (those who have not yet had their cars repossessed, that is), with the price of gas approaching $5 a gallon in some cities, that cost alone would preclude millions of the unemployed from getting anywhere near the capital.

The challenge to march shouldn’t just be issued to the unemployed, but to all Americans who recognize that a strong economy, more jobs and a fair tax structure benefit everyone.  A march on Washington by the unemployed sounds great, but it would be even better to see working Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their unemployed neighbors in a show of solidarity. A march on Washington of the unemployed, the working poor and the middle class would let our leadership in D.C. on both sides of the aisle know we are not willing to let them give our tax dollars to the rich and wait for the money to eventually come trickling back down.

Read Jesse Jackson’s full article here.

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