UPDATE: With a large number of House Republicans refusing to back asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pulled his “Plan B.” from the floor last night and adjourned the House. No negotiations between Republicans and the Obama White House on the expiring middle class tax cuts and automatic spending cuts set to go into effect Jan. 1 are scheduled. But a White House spokesman said, “The president will work with Congress to get this done, and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy.”
If House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “really wanted to address the true causes of our long-term budget imbalance, the last thing he would ask Congress to do is pass more wasteful tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director Bill Samuel said in a letter to House members today.
Boehner, instead of continuing negotiations with President Obama this week, is pushing a so-called “Plan B” that would make permanent the Bush tax cuts on people making $250,000 to $1 million a year. His plan would also make permanent huge cuts to the estate tax for wealthy Americans while ending tax credits aimed at students and working families. Boehner's "Plan B" will be voted on tonight.
In urging lawmakers to reject Boehner’s “Plan B,” Samuel also writes:
While showering tax breaks with hundreds of billions of dollars on the wealthiest Americans, Republicans continue to demand over $100 billion in cuts to Social Security COLAs [cost-of-living adjustments] though the so-called “chained” CPI. The chained CPI is a benefit cut and we urge you to reject it, as well as any other benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare.
Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Edward Coyle says, “[U]nder what is coldly labeled as the 'chained CPI,' a worker retiring in 2011 at age 65 would lose over $6,000 over 15 years.”
We must reject the chained-CPI. And we must change our badly-flawed tax system, one that regularly puts Social Security at risk to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.
Meanwhile, using the proposed cuts in Social Security benefits and their impact on seniors’ income as a jumping off point, National Nurses United (NNU) Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro writes in The Guardian about the growing poverty rate in America and how the calls for “austerity” in the fiscal cliff negotiations—especially in programs that help the poor—would exacerbate the problem.
But austerity is not the answer she writes.
A modest tax on Wall Street speculation, embodied in H.R. 6411, authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, could generate up to $350 billion every year, an amount that could save over 1.7 million homes from foreclosure, or finance 9 million new jobs at current average wage levels. Or it could fund the food plans of 24 million families of four for a year, or lift all 3.8 million female-headed households out of poverty for nearly a decade.