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Trumka: An Election Message for the Lame Duck Congress: Fair Taxes, No Cuts

This is an excerpt from "An Election Message for the Lame Duck Congress: Fair Taxes, No Cuts," by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

After a hard-fought and divisive election year, it's time to rebuild America's middle class—but to do it we need to make sure the lessons from this campaign stick.

Four years ago, the leadership of the Republican Party made a cynical political gamble—and this year they lost because they bet against Ame

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Working Families Say Lame Duck Can’t Bargain Away Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Ohio AFL-CIO photo

Thursday morning outside Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) Cincinnati office (see photo), a young single mother and her son, Vincent, who has severe disabilities, talked about the vital role Medicaid plays in their lives and how devastating any cuts to that health care lifeline would be.

The action was just one of more than 100 last week by working family activists urging Congress not to agree to a so-called “grand bargain” of deficit reduction in the upcoming lame-duck session that includes Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefit cuts.

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Simpson-Bowles 'Grand Bargain' Candidates Lose on Tuesday

Bob Kerrey photo courtesy of Esther Dyson

The conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., and in much of the media, is that because of the deficit and debt, we need to make cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A bipartisan commission led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles has promoted a plan that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and lower corporate taxes for the wealthy. Bowles and Simpson have been promoting their plan heavily and took to endorsing candidates who they believed would support their plan. 

Voters on Tuesday rejected all of the candidates that both Bowles and Simpson endorsed...

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With Events Across the Country, Working Families Turn from Election to Protecting the Social Safety Net

With Events Across the Country, Working Families Turn from Election to Protecting the Social Safety Net

While working families are resting after an exhausting election cycle, working people and union members are continuing to mobilize. Before the end of the year, Congress will meet in a "lame-duck" session and tackle numerous issues that could have powerful effects on the lives of middle-class Americans.

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Differing Economic Visions Drive Working-Class Voters to Obama

Photo courtesy of the Colorado AFL-CIO Facebook page.

The union movement’s election outreach and mobilization—which ends with a massive “Final Four” GOTV drive—has made “the working class rejection of the Bush-Romney-Ryan economic agenda the defining issue of this election,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Overwhelmingly core economic issues, like protecting Medicare, ending tax cuts for the rich, creating good jobs and rejecting the failed economic policies of the past, are driving working-class voters to Barack Obama and away from Republican economics and wedge issues—as long as people have the information on both candidates’ real records.

Read more about working families' "Final Four" GOTV push

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Health Coverage for Retirees Continues Decline

A new report on retiree health care reinforces the need to maintain the Affordable Care Act—not repeal it, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows to do—and strengthen Medicare by rejecting “coupon care” private system proposals like the Romney-Ryan plan.   

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report, “Employment-Based Retiree Health Benefits: Trends in Access and Coverage, 1997‒2010,” quantifies what we all know, fewer employers are offering health care benefits to their retirees—both early retirees and those Medicare-eligible at 65—and those that do are raising the cost to retirees.

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Nearly 70,000 Retirees Join Vice President Biden on Medicare, Social Security

Nearly 70,000 Retirees Join Vice President Biden on  Medicare, Social Security

Nearly 70,000 members of the Alliance for Retired Americans joined a call this week with Vice President Joe Biden to learn more about the Obama administration’s commitment to keeping Medicare and Social Security strong for future generations. The call was organized by the Alliance.

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Richard Trumka: Americans Don't Want That 'Grand Bargain'

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid just so that millionaires and billionaires can continue to receive tax breaks and other giveaways? "We could not disagree more," says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an Op-Ed in today's Politico, "Americans Don't Want 'Grand Bargain.'"

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Eight Facts You Need to Know on Health Care

Photo Credit: Neil Parekh/SEIU Healthcare 775NW

Arm yourself with these eight facts on health care, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act:

1. We have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare or Medicaid problem. Health care costs overall, including through employment-based plans, individual coverage and Medicare and Medicaid, have been growing faster than the whole economy—2.4% greater on average since 1970. Between 2000 and 2010, workers’ contributions to premiums for health insurance at work jumped 147%, compared to just a 36% increase in workers’ earnings. See "Medicare, Medicaid and the Deficit Debate," a report from the Urban Institute.

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