Make Your Voice Heard
Posted by John Atlas on April 16, 2009
What should you do if you’re politically progressive or even if you label yourself a liberal, or a Democrat but are unhappy about the direction of New Jersey’s government?
You should attend a great conference on Saturday, April 18th being held at the East Brunswick Hilton between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The conference is called New Directions for New Jersey: Progressive Policies to Address the Economic Crisis
Why do we need such a conference?
Our nation is facing greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. It was a crisis caused by greedy business leaders, Wall Street wheelers and dealers and their supporters including religious fundamentalists, fanatical right-wing Republicans, neo conservative intellectuals, as well as neo-liberals in the Democratic Party. They all had a religious belief in some version of free-market capitalism, tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of the financial services industry and a call for getting the government off our backs, except of course when their companies needed a bailout. It was these policies that caused the crisis and only a complete reversal can get us out of it. Like global warming this a crisis caused by human actions and was entirely preventable.
I think John Corzine wants to do the right thing and President Barack Obama is mostly on the correct path, trying to correct the damage done to this country. But while the new leadership in Washington is committed to driving recovery through much-needed public investment, New Jersey is stuck in the tired, old pattern of short-sighted budget cuts and tax breaks that give the most to those who need the least help.
We need new directions and a new discussion in New Jersey about how to put the state on the path to prosperity for all. The public is invited to hear from experts and join the dialogue on fresh approaches for fixing New Jersey’s broken tax system and making needed investments in schools, bridges and roads and other parts of our infrastructure. The meeting will also discuss how we can create good, green jobs and face up to other crucial issues like health care and criminal justice.
The keynote speaker is Robert Kuttner, author of Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency, and co-editor of American Prospect, one of the best journals in the country. Kuttner is America’s best economics journalist. Also speaking is Joel Rogers, professor of law, political science and sociology at the University of Wisconsin and a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award. Rogers combines a brilliant understanding of the present crisis, with a great sense of humor.
Some of the other great speakers include Henry Coleman of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy; Elsie Foster-Dublin, Acting Mayor of Highland Park; James Harris of NAACP; Greg Le Roy of Good Jobs First; and Jon Shure of New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey’s premier progressive think tank.
- New Jersey’s Tax Structure 101
- Investing in Education
- Closing the Holes in the Safety Net
- Making Higher Education Affordable
- Reforming Our Criminal Justice System
- Green Jobs and Infrastructure Investments
- Quality Health Care for All
- Protecting the Rights of Immigrants
- Foreclosure Prevention and Lessons from the Housing Crisis
Click here to register.
Or for more information you can contact Margarita Hernandez
of the Grassroots Institute of New Jersey at the New Jersey Working Families Alliance at 973-623-1828 ×236.
Some of the sponsors of the conference include: the Better Choices Budget Campaign, BlueWaveNJ, the Communications Workers of America, the Grassroots Institute of New Jersey, Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, National Housing Institute, New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey Education Association, the New Jersey Environmental Federation, New Jersey Policy Perspective and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, Service Employees International Union and the Sierra Club.
Concerned citizens, union members, parents, teachers, advocates, students, seniors and other New Jerseyans will be coming to the New Directions for New Jersey conference.
If you want to be part of the solution and help to change the conversation in Trenton, you should come.
Did I mention it’s free?
About the author more »
John Atlas is president and one of the founders of NHI. His recent book is _Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Anti-Poverty Community Group_ (2010, Vanderbilt University Press).