It's back. No matter how many times working people reject the Bowles-Simpson "B-S" budget plan that cynically claims it would "promote economic growth "—but would actually snuff out the recovery and cut lifelines for working families—it keeps coming back to the table.
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released another tired plan today that would cut Social Security COLAs to pay for lower tax rates for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, among other things.
Working families aren't fooled. There's nothing "fair and balanced" about the Bowles-Simpson budget plan that would ultimately increase unemployment, cut Social Security benefits, tax workers’ health benefits and scapegoat federal employees while giving more tax breaks for sending jobs overseas and lowering tax rates for Wall Street and the wealthiest 2%. Yesterday, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) introduced an amendment to H.R. 444, that would direct President Obama to follow the budget recommendations of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, known as the Bowles-Simpson plan.
A group of 350 prominent economists, including economic experts from the AFL-CIO, issued a joint statement warning that the type of austerity measures favored by Republicans and suggested by the bipartisan commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, would further harm the economy and weaken the social safety net that millions of working families rely upon. They argue that the seemingly obsessive focus on the deficit obscures what the country really needs to focus on—creating jobs.
Some legislators and their friends on Wall Street are set on reaching a “grand bargain” during the post-election "lame duck" session of Congress that would cut the benefits that we and our children will depend on. They want to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare, cut our Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)and cut Medicaid, which could force families into bankruptcy when a loved one needs long-term care.
Reflecting what voters said in AFL-CIO's election-night poll, a poll conducted on behalf of Democracy Corps and the Campaign for America's Future (CAF) shows that voters strongly reject proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare. When asked which was more important, 70% of respondents said that protecting education, Medicare and Social Security was more important than broad cuts to reduce the deficit. More than half—58%—of the overall sample said that they felt strongly about opposing such cuts. Only 17% of the survey said they felt strongly that across-the-board cuts were important enough to cut the popular programs.
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.
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.'"
Why do deficit reduction plans always "seem to involve cutting taxes for the top 1% of U.S. income earners while cutting Social Security retirement benefits (average monthly check: $1,230 ) for everyone else?" asks Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik in his latest column.