It’s back! Just when you thought you might never hear the words “fiscal cliff” again, the sequel to this horror movie is about to be released. Look for it in your local theater, radio, TV and website—non-stop, 24/7—beginning sometime in February.
Yes, those irrepressible Republicans in Congress have cooked up yet another manufactured crisis and are once again holding the U.S. economy hostage. This time they are threatening to cause a U.S. government default unless they get their way. You know—the same stunt they pulled last summer. And what are congressional Republicans demanding as ransom to spare the economy? The same things they were demanding last time we went through this ordeal: benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
Some news outlets have suggested that Republicans have changed their position on taxes after their resounding defeat on Tuesday. This is not the case. Republicans are still demanding lower tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans, paid for by cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
Yesterday, the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said that Republicans are “willing to accept new revenue under the right conditions.” But this is the same position Republicans have staked out for more than a year.
After the election, Congress will make some high-stakes decisions about jobs and taxes that could have serious consequences for working families and the economy. A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) should serve as the working families’ guide to the post-election debate.
Here are some of the decisions facing Congress when they return: the federal unemployment benefits program expires at the end of December. The Bush tax cuts also expire automatically and Congress will have to decide whether to extend them for the middle class or also extend them for the richest 2% of Americans. Thanks to last summer’s debt ceiling agreement, across-the-board budget cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013. If Congress makes the wrong calls on these high-stakes decisions, we could have another recession in 2013.
This is the fourth of a four-part series describing what went wrong with America’s economy and how to fix it. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here—and please leave a comment to tell us what you think. (Click the chart to enlarge.)
To fix what’s wrong with the U.S. economy, we have to replace the failed low-wage economic strategy of the past 30 years with a high-wage strategy for shared prosperity.
The first step in such a high-wage strategy is to put America back to work because high unemployment keeps wages down. Our goal should be “full employment,” meaning everybody who wants to work should be able to find a decent job. We can’t allow the unfounded fear of inflation to be used as an excuse to keep unemployment high and wages low.
This is the first of a four-part series describing what went wrong with America’s economy and how to fix it. See Part 2 tomorrow—and please leave a comment to tell us what you think. (Click the chart to enlarge.)
The Great Recession officially ended more than three years ago, but working families know there’s still something wrong with the U.S. economy. If we want to fix our economy, we first have to understand what’s wrong with it. (Click chart on the left to enlarge).
Starting today, in a series of four posts and infographics, we’ll spell out what we see as the short-term and long-term causes of our economic problems and we’ll point to specific solutions.
The Washington Post recently ran a lengthy article explaining the difficulties Americans face in providing for a secure retirement, as traditional pension plans become less common and 401(k) savings accounts prove to be frighteningly inadequate.
But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka points out that this whole discussion about retirement security fails to mention an obvious solution staring at us right in the face. It’s called Social Security.