We have five weeks to tell Congress to let the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% expire and reject any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Visit www.aflcio.org/ProtectOurFuture for all the information you need on the upcoming budget showdown.
As Congress deliberates during the "lame-duck" session, benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are being targeted for cuts. Some say benefit cuts are necessary because we face a debt crisis, but working families and their allies strongly reject such claims. It is true that we face a projected budget imbalance over the long term, but the answer is to tackle the real reasons for this imbalance and not use deficits as an excuse to pursue unrelated agendas. Here are a few specific AFL-CIO suggestions that would tackle the true causes of this problem without cutting benefits.
Not only is austerity bad politics – even Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had to distance themselves from it – but it’s disastrous economic policy. Austerity economics is responsible for the country’s growing inequality, rising deficits and unemployment. Austerity economics means the wealthy remain unscathed while the people who rely on programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the young – will get less and pay more. And let’s not forget the impact this will have on future generations.
The agenda for shared prosperity builds upon an understanding of the central role of workers, their unions and collective bargaining to address the full range of our society’s economic ills—our jobs and infrastructure deficits, our housing crisis, the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector, the disconnect between wages and productivity, the health care and retirement security crisis and the particular toll that these crises have taken on communities of color and women.