After Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) office ignored requests from Columbus-area families to meet and talk about the kind of budget policies he and other lawmakers are pushing that would hurt both working people and the recovering U.S. economy, they decided to drop by anyway. The Wednesday action outside Portman’s Columbus office was just one of dozens of “Protect Our Future” demonstrations around the country.
Two more Republican governors have come out in support of expanding Medicaid in their states, realizing that not only is the program a good deal for them, but that it provides additional benefits for their residents. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer discovered that expanding Medicaid would save her state $353 million. Meanwhile, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval projected that expansion would save his state $17 million.
Working families will be gathering at congressional offices across the country on Wednesday to fight bad budget policies that would hurt both families and the recovering U.S. economy. Specifically, they will be telling members of Congress to reject any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid; close loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2%; and cancel the sequestration crisis they created for themselves and the rest of the country.
Brace yourself. In coming weeks you’ll hear there’s no serious alternative to cutting Social Security and Medicare, raising taxes on middle class and decimating what’s left of the federal government’s discretionary spending, on everything from education and job training to highways and basic research.
“We” must make these sacrifices, it will be said, in order to deal with our mushrooming budget deficit and cumulative debt.
But most of the people who are making this argument are very wealthy or are sponsored by the very wealthy: Wall Street moguls like Peter Peterson and his “Fix the Debt” brigade, the Business Roundtable, well-appointed think tanks and policy centers along the Potomac, members of the Simpson-Bowles commission.
This is good news—no doubt about it—and it shows the power of working people when they make their voices heard. But don’t think for a second that Republicans have given up trying to tank the economy to get their way. Or trying to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Or trying to cut taxes for Wall Street and rich people. Because they haven’t and they won’t. This fight is still on.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seemingly have rallied enough of their House allies to push the battle over causing a U.S. government default down the road, with a temporary three-month extension of the government's borrowing authority (or "debt ceiling"). But House Republicans have not changed their ransom demands. They've simply chosen a different hostage. For now.
During President Obama's second inaugural address yesterday, he affirmed we're stronger when we work together:
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone....No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.
Working families all over the United States are gearing up for round two in the fiscal showdown. Once again, Republicans in Congress are demanding benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and threatening to tank our economy by causing a default of the U.S. government on March 1 unless they get their way. Write a letter to the editor today asking our elected officials to:
Oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
Close loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans.