President Obama must take action through executive order to defend our rights to our jobs and our homes.  Just as the Presidents bypassed Congress to wage wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, President Obama must bypass Congress to declare a war on unemployment and foreclosures and evictions that are destroying our communities.

Full Employment is the Law

The Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 provided that within five years of passage of the Act, the President and Congress were to implement policies guaranteeing that the unemployment rate was never to exceed 4% a year.  In July 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was 9.1%, and the real unemployment rate, including discouraged workers who still want jobs and part-time workers who desire full time work, was 16.1%.  This is a gross violation of the law.

The Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978, Section 3111, mandates that when high unemployment persists (ie during a jobless recovery) the President is required to initiate supplementary programs to reduce unemployment.  Included among these programs are (1) accelerated public works programs (2) public service employment; (3) State and local grant programs; (4) extending unemployment insurance; skill training in both the private and public sector; and (6) youth employment programs.

The budget bill developed by President Obama and Congress, mandating trillions in cutbacks at the precise moment when massive federal public works programs are critical to fight unemployment, violates the Full Employment Act and must be immediately overturned and disregarded.  The President must take immediate action through executive order implementing programs to achieve Full Employment in accordance with the law.

Housing is a Right

Today the federal government, through its takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac along with the Federal Housing Authority, owns at least 75 of all mortgage loans.  However, rather than utilizing this federal takeover of the housing market to benefit homeowners and renters, the federal government is continuing to bail out the banks, paying the banks full value for the fraudulent and predatory loans which they created, and then throwing millions of homeowners into the streets.

It’s time for the federal government to bail out the people and not the banks.  President Obama should immediately declare a two year moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions, during which times the loans could be renegotiated to their real value, with the banks eating the losses for the fraud they practiced.  Rather than selling off government owned housing to investors and sharks, the government should train our youth to rebuild these homes and reoccupy them with the millions of homeless and unemployed.

Fight or Starve

In the 1930’s, as direct result of the mass struggles of the unemployed and unions, 25 states implemented Moratoriums on Foreclosures.  The Michigan Moratorium Act outlawed foreclosures for 5 years.  In addition, the federal WPA, Works Progress Administration, put 8 million people to work, building schools, highways, bridges and dams which are still functioning today.  It was people hitting the streets in the millions that won these victories.  It’s time to revive that movement to guarantee our rights to jobs and housing, and to demand that President Obama represent the workers and poor who elected him, not the billionaires, bankers and generals who are setting policy today.