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Letter | September 25, 2020

Coalition Of 23 Organizations Call For Robust Fiscal Policy From Next Administration

2020 Election/Transition

September 25, 2020

To: 2020 Presidential Candidates

We, the undersigned groups, call on nominees for President of the United States to commit to robust fiscal policy for a healthier, more equitable, and more democratic economy. As such, we also call on candidates to refrain from appointing senior policy officials who would encourage or invoke any sort of deficit hawkishness and to instead appoint personnel committed to rebuilding our economy with public money.

There is a growing consensus that now is the time to address the structural problems of the “old economy.” We believe it is imperative to roll back recent tax cuts for the wealthiest and most powerful companies and individuals. Indeed, we anticipate that the loudest calls for austerity will come from those who advocated for those tax cuts. But above all, we believe the federal government must directly support working households and families in ways that contribute to a just recovery.

The candidates should maintain an unflinching commitment to fiscally support programs that promote the general welfare of the country, [1] meeting our healthcare, housing, employment, and education needs, especially in struggling communities of color. Nearly all state constitutions prohibit state governments from maintaining budget deficits to fund ongoing operational expenditures, making it impossible for them to borrow money to support families or workers, including teachers and first responders. Mass layoffs of state and local government employees will exacerbate the unemployment crisis and have a disproportionate impact on women and people of color. [2] The economy is in a depression, operating nowhere near full-capacity. Moreover, we can impose higher taxes on the economy’s big winners. There should be no discussion of limited options or resources.

The candidates should commit to anti-austerian policy leadership. Voters maintain a real cynicism that all politicians are corrupt, upholding a system rigged against regular people. [3] Even before the pandemic, lower and middle-income households had not fully recovered the wealth they lost during the Great Recession. [4] The next President must meet today’s collective challenges by focusing directly on the real economy. Appointments to the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Office of Management and Budget, National Economic Council, and other relevant bodies should demonstrate a commitment to alleviating unemployment and meeting the real needs of everyday people rather than large corporations or Wall Street. [5]

If campaigns fail to recognize the imperatives of this moment — even as they court the votes of millions of suffering Americans — then there is little hope the next administration will meet the country’s needs in the coming years. The pandemic and economic crisis demand the federal government respond as it did during the Great Depression and World War II. This is the right message for our moment. Candidates must match their words with action and pledge to install personnel we can rely on to follow through.


The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)
American Economic Liberties Project
Americans for Financial Reform
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
Climate Hawks Vote
Demand Progress
Democracy for America
Economic Policy Institute
Friends of the Earth Action
Groundwork Action
In the Public Interest
Justice Democrats
Open Markets Institute
Our Revolution
People’s Action
Public Citizen
The Revolving Door Project (RDP)
Sunrise Movement
Take on Wall Street
United for Respect
Working Families Party

[1] See U.S. Const. art. 1, § 8.

[2] See, e.g., David Cooper, Mary Gable, & Algernon Austin, The public-sector jobs crisis, Economic Policy Institute (May 2, 2012) https://www.epi.org/publication/bp339-public-sector-jobs-crisis/.

[3] See Letter from CEPR Revolving Door Project et al. to Presidential Candidates (July 29, 2020),

[4] See, e.g., Lael Brainard, Gov., Fed. Res., Is the Middle Class within Reach for Middle-Income Families? (May 10, 2019), https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/brainard20190510a.htm.

[5] See Jeff Hauser & David Segal, Personnel is Policy, Democracy Journal (Feb. 6, 2020), https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/personnel-is-policy/.

2020 Election/Transition
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