POLITICS
08/30/2011 06:10 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2011

Obama Jobs Plan: Progressive Groups Urge President To 'Go Big'

Sixty-seven major progressive organizations have penned an open letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to "go big" as he prepares a new jobs plan, which he will announce in a major speech just after Labor Day.

The groups -- including MoveOn, Democracy for America, Rebuild the Dream and the National Council of Women’s Organizations -- commend Obama for presenting a jobs plan at a "crucial moment," but also stress the negative impact of Congress's failure to provide a fix for the nation's high unemployment rate:

A problem this serious needs a plan to match it in scope. Tax cuts and incentives for corporations have repeatedly failed to put Americans back to work. It is time to move beyond these half-measures designed to appeal to a narrow ideological minority who have repeatedly shown their unwillingness to negotiate and their disinterest in real solutions. History -- and proven economics -- tells us that any plan to solve our job crisis needs to be big, bold, and create jobs directly.

With 25 million Americans out of work, or only able to find part-time work when they want and need full time jobs, aggressive action is needed. Representative Jan Schakowsky’s "Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act" is an example of the kind of bold step that we need to take as a country and that you should include as part of your broader jobs agenda. It would decrease unemployment 1.3 percent by directly creating more than 2 million jobs, including jobs for construction workers to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and for educators, health care workers, firefighters, and police, to strengthen our communities.

The progressive groups have reservations about Obama's intention to dedicate part of his speech to deficit reduction, according to a press release from Campaign for America's Future.

They are also concerned that Obama's plan may not be large enough to be taken seriously -- the plan is expected to be significantly less ambitious than the $825 billion stimulus of 2009.

According to the Associated Press, economists who advocate for government intervention in the economy estimate that it would take a package of at least $300 billion to avoid backsliding, and even more to boost the economy significantly. It is unlikely a plan that large would be accepted by Congress, which was divided on fiscal issues during the recent debt ceiling debate.