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The Consequences of Austerity Are Dire

Severe budget cuts (for example, the kind required by the sequester), also known as “austerity” policies—expected to be implemented in 119 countries across the globe in 2013—are the wrong solution to the world’s economic crisis, concludes a new paper released by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue and the South Centre.

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Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

Prominent Democrats—including the president and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation. 

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans—who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions or tax financial transactions. 

Read the rest of Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table on Robert Reich's blog

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7 Ways the Sequester Is Inflicting Real Pain

We already covered how sequestration cuts will affect your state, but here's an update on the pain these cuts are causing in communities across the country since they went into effect March 1. 

Think these cuts aren't painful? Think again. Here are some highlights on the sequester's reign of terror after the jump.

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Join the March 20 National Day of Action: Repeal the Sequester

Join the March 20 National Day of Action: Repeal the Sequester

Across-the-board budget cuts—called sequestration—will cost more than 750,000 jobs this year alone and many more jobs over the next decade. There is a simple solution to make this problem go away: repeal sequestration.

It's that simple.

Join working families on March 20 for a national day of actions at congressional offices and in our communities.

Find an event near you.

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Watch Live at Noon: Repeal the Sequester Press Conference

Rep. John Conyers. Photo Credit: Thomas Good / NLN

Democratic Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Alan Grayson (Fla.) and Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) will demand action on a one-sentence bill introduced by Conyers called the "Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013."

You can watch the press conference live at 12 p.m. EDT here or in this blog. 

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Robert Reich: What Obama Should Do Now

What should the president do now?

Push to repeal the sequester (a reconciliation bill in the Senate would allow repeal with 51 votes, thereby putting pressure on House Republicans) and replace it with a “Build America’s Future” Act that would close tax loopholes used by the wealthy, end corporate welfare, impose a small (1/10 of 1%) tax on financial transactions and reduce the size of the military.

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Guess What: Sequestration Does Not Fix the Debt

Photo courtesy of Kevin McCoy, Wikimedia Commons.

As you may have heard, the Republicans' refusal to discontinue the hostage crisis around the sequester has led to the across-the-board budget cuts kicking in today. What you may not have heard is that the sequester actually increases the the public debt-to-GDP ratio, Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute points out

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AFL-CIO Executive Council Calls for Repeal of Sequestration to Disarm the Republican Hostage Takers

AFL-CIO Executive Council Calls for Repeal of Sequestration to Disarm the Republican Hostage Takers

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.  

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How the Sequester Will Affect Your State

The Washington Post recently released a handy state-by-state breakdown of how the sequester cuts will affect jobs and services in every state. These figures are based on White House estimates. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) also details these harmful cuts here

See how the sequester would affect your state here

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House Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Say 'Eliminate Sequester'

Photo courtesy of the House Progressive Caucus.

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. 

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