AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “Plan B” failure and the latest fiscal developments:
Speaker Boehner’s failure last night should be seen as one thing: A reset button to listen to the will of the American people. The slate is clean and we call on the President to come forward with an offer that reflects the reasons he won the election. Across the country working people continue to demand no tax cuts for the richest two percent and no benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. At this point, cuts to the Social Security COLA to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent should be off the table. The President and Congress have no obligation to radical Republicans who have no ground to stand on. What they do have is the backing of millions of hardworking women and men tired of being held hostage by far right-wing Republicans who clearly have little interest in governing.
Once upon a time, Ed Asner (former president of the Screen Actors) tells us, in this animated video from the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), there was a land that was happy and prosperous with a great education system, safe streets, jobs for everyone and a thriving middle class. But then things changed when the rich people decide they didn’t want to pay taxes anymore.
A group of Democratic senators is circulating a letter opposing benefit cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and saying that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should expire at the end of the year. The letter also calls for increasing revenue, cuts to defense and the closing of tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations. The letter was drafted by Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). The Democratic senators are hoping to get 30 senators to sign the letter.
Maybe you’ve heard of it—the CEO campaign to “Fix the Debt." With a $60 million war chest and the blessing of more than 80 CEOs of America’s biggest corporations, “Fix the Debt” is passing itself off as a reasoned call for compromise to save the nation from economic disaster. But as this new infographic and a recent study show, the companies behind Fix the Debt stand to gain $134 billion from one of the tax breaks they are promoting. Not just any tax break, mind you, but a new tax incentive for corporations to send U.S. jobs overseas.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other national leaders of unions and progressive groups actively involved in discussions over fiscal priorities met with President Obama Tuesday morning at the White House. Trumka and the group urged Obama to not give more tax cuts to those making more than $250,000 and to not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The group also pledged to support the president in fighting for a good deal for the country, even if that means negotiating into the new year. Afterward, Trumka told reporters:
Thursday morning outside Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) Cincinnati office (see photo), a young single mother and her son, Vincent, who has severe disabilities, talked about the vital role Medicaid plays in their lives and how devastating any cuts to that health care lifeline would be.
The action was just one of more than 100 last week by working family activists urging Congress not to agree to a so-called “grand bargain” of deficit reduction in the upcoming lame-duck session that includes Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefit cuts.
After the election, Congress will make some high-stakes decisions about jobs and taxes that could have serious consequences for working families and the economy. A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) should serve as the working families’ guide to the post-election debate.
Here are some of the decisions facing Congress when they return: the federal unemployment benefits program expires at the end of December. The Bush tax cuts also expire automatically and Congress will have to decide whether to extend them for the middle class or also extend them for the richest 2% of Americans. Thanks to last summer’s debt ceiling agreement, across-the-board budget cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013. If Congress makes the wrong calls on these high-stakes decisions, we could have another recession in 2013.