The most striking feature of the U.S. economy over the last three decades has been the upward redistribution of income. The top 1.0 percent of households has managed to pocket the vast majority of gains over this period. That is a sharp contrast with the three decades immediately following World War II when the benefits of much more rapid growth were broadly shared.
While many Republicans balked at passing $60 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy cleanup (they eventually passed a little higher than $50 billion), TIME’s Steven Brill wrote that the United States spends nearly that much in health care costs each week.
Holding out for ransom demands in the form of benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Senate Republicans today again refused to surrender their hostages—the nation’s economy and working families who will be hurt by the upcoming Republican sequester.
Republicans led the charge to defeat a Democratic plan that would have eliminated the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts for the remainder of 2013, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would cost 750,000 jobs.
The AFL-CIO Executive Council today called on Congress to repeal—not replace—the economically destructive budget cuts that Republicans in Congress are using as leverage to demand Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefit cuts. If the sequester is to be replaced, in whole or in part, the council called for closing tax loopholes for Wall Street and the wealthiest 2%, which would minimize harm to the economy.
Take a look at these videos of working families who are speaking out against Republican lawmakers' attempt to shove the economy to the edge of another manufactured fiscal crisis in order to extract painful benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and protect tax breaks and big loopholes for corporations and the wealthy. Working families demonstrated outside the offices of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs, released a statement yesterday that there is one simple way we can deal with the upcoming Republican-manufactured faux budget crisis designed to extract painful benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: eliminate it.
A new, non-partisan study by Thomas Hungerford of the non-partisan Congressional Research Service confirms that the explosion of income inequality over the past 15 years is fueled by rapidly rising income from capital gains and dividends.
Paul Krugman has a pretty straightforward plan to deal with the sequester that’s due to hit March 1. The New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist says, “The right policy would be to forget about the whole thing.”
He bases his proposal on what Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen said in her keynote address to the Trans-Atlantic Agenda for Shared Prosperity conference at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Fiscal austerity, such as the sequester and the latest doomsday alert from the Bowles-Simpson duo, is the enemy of real economic recovery.
"Fix the Debt" portrays itself as a nonpartisan group designed to convince government to do something drastic about the national debt, which it says is a significant danger to the country. And despite widespread evidence from economists that their proposals would hurt the economy, Fix the Debt's members are pushing for a set of policies based on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans and benefit cuts to lifelines like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.