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Rev. Jesse Jackson seeks transparency in handling of the economic recovery plan

February 21, 2009

Says the first stimulus failed because it “fed into greed, and failed to meet the need”.

With the presidential signature finalizing the $787 billion economic recovery bill, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, talked about what is needed for the bill to be effective and successful at the Rainbow PUSH Saturday Morning Forum.

“The first stimulus bill failed because it was not regulated--it failed to reach the people”, said Rev. Jackson. “The stimulus bill fed into greed, the greed of the banks and bankers. It comes down to watering the roots versus sprinkling the leaves. In order for this plan to succeed, we must see to it that the roots are being nourished.”

Rev. Jackson also expressed his displeasure at the way students and student loans are being treated during this failure on Wall Street. He stated that banks themselves pay less than 1% on their loans and charge 4 to 15% interest on student loans. He said students should be getting the same kind of rates the banks are getting.

Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, spoke to the audience of the internationally broadcast Saturday Morning Forum. “There is a program that allows students to move their defaulted loan into payment status. However, too may people are going into too much debt trying to fulfill their right to higher education,” said Davis. “We (Illinois Student Assistance Commission) stand in support of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and their fight to aid students with high student loan debt.”

Early in the broadcast, Jonathan Jackson, national spokesman for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, announced the 44th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’. “President Barack Obama is the 44th President, on the 44th anniversary of the act that allowed us to elect him. We celebrate those who marched, fought and died for our right to vote.”

Jackson also commended Rep. Cynthia Soto (D-4th) for her leadership in moving the moratorium on school closures thru the general assembly 21-0. “There have been 61 schools closed in Chicago and, before one more school is closed, we must look at the impact that these closings are having on our youth,” Jackson said. “Three young men died just last night, and our prayers and condolences go to their families. 24 youth have died this year, many because school closings forced them from their neighborhood, across gang lines, to attend school everyday,” he said.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund will host their 2009 annual conference, themed, “A More Perfect Union -- Targeted Stimulus: The Key to Reconstruction” June 27–July 1 at the Hyatt McCormick Place at 2233 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago.

Saturday Morning Forum airs at 10 a.m. CST on the Word Network, CAN-TV and WJYS.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366.