Our country faces a likely serious and possibly devastating economic downturn. Policymakers must act to stem the severity to the extent they can. Failure to come together to act quickly means that the economic pain will be broader and deeper than otherwise would be the case. Average American workers, who failed to benefit from economic growth in this last business cycle, will be amongst the hardest hit. And, if Washington cannot now take measures to address the short-term weaknesses in the economy, then the first years of the next Administration will be consumed by that challenge—leaving little capacity for progress on health care, the transformation to a low-carbon economy, and creating the conditions for long-term growth and economic opportunity.
Therefore, as congressional leaders consider measures to address the economic downturn, we suggest they craft a straightforward stimulus package with a limited number of components targeted on spurring demand and creating jobs. Each component should be timely, targeted, and temporary. And each should be bolstered by strong arguments that it will have powerful stimulative effect. In short, we urge discipline and focus in crafting a compelling and progressive package not susceptible to predictable ideological counter-arguments. We also urge firmness in rejecting conservative proposals that are neither stimulative nor targeted nor sound fiscal policy, regardless of their popular appeal.