The AFL-CIO Calls On Wall Street To Pay Their Fair Share

A statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

At a time when the 1% have demanded so much sacrifice from working people in the name of deficit reduction, we must ask something of big corporations. That means “revenue positive” corporate tax reform that raises significant amounts of new tax revenue.   We must start by ending all tax incentives for outsourcing jobs overseas, which would raise more than $583 billion in tax revenue over 10 years.

For many years, the AFL-CIO has called for Wall Street and multinational corporations to pay their fair share in taxes to help pay for the investments we need to make in jobs here at home. However we are concerned that several recent proposals for corporate tax reform do not raise nearly enough revenue because they squander huge sums of money on lowering tax rates for profitable Wall Street corporations.

Wall Street has not been asked to contribute a dime in the name of “shared sacrifice,” while working people have already sacrificed far too much.  The suggestion that tax reform should let Wall Street and big corporations get away with paying no more than they pay now is offensive.  The suggestion that such “revenue neutral” corporate tax reform should be coupled with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits is an obscenity.

We are especially concerned that proposals to lower the corporate tax rate by a specific amount could lead to cutbacks on tax expenditures, such as the domestic production activities deduction, that encourage manufacturing in the United States.  Limiting such expenditures could discourage investment, production, and employment here in America even if the corporate tax rate is lowered.
Finally, we reiterate that the AFL-CIO opposes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits, no matter what form they take and no matter who proposes them.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Statement on GOP Budget

From WIKIPediaRepublicans in Congress are not in touch with their constituents. They do not seem to understand that they lost the last election because voters rejected their agenda.

And now they are recycling more of the same agenda that was overwhelmingly rejected in November: lower tax rates for the richest Americans and benefit cuts for Social Security and Medicare.

Today the House Republican leadership put forward a plan that would squander trillions of dollars by extending tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans and lowering top tax rates even further.

Speaker Boehner claims this proposal is a “compromise” because it includes $800 billion in tax revenues from closing unspecified “loopholes.”  But this is the same “fuzzy math” that Gov. Romney tried to sell in the last presidential campaign.  We know from the debate over Gov. Romney’s plan that this sort of “loophole closing” either increases taxes on the middle class or increases the deficit.

At the same time, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, he argued for cutting Social Security COLAs, raising the eligibility age for Medicare, and increasing premiums for higher-income Medicare beneficiaries.

It is ironic that Republicans unfairly attacked President Obama during the campaign for cutting Medicare, and now they are turning around and proposing Medicare benefits cuts.  This is an agenda that spares the wealthiest Americans from any sacrifice and shifts the burden to working people.

We reject Speaker Boehner’s outlandish claim that this was a “status quo” election.  We reject the Republican agenda of lowering tax rates for rich people and cutting benefits for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  And specifically, we reject cuts in Social Security COLAs, increases in the Medicare eligibility age, increases in Medicare premiums, and any reduction in the top individual income tax rates below 36% and 39.6%.

We challenge Republicans in Congress to heed the lesson of the November election and work with us to put America back to work, raise wages, restore tax fairness, and rebuild the middle class.

Congress To Federal Workers We Have Your Back!

I have talked a lot about the attacks on workers in the Federal Sector.  Lately there has been much discussion about the Lame Duck Session and Sequestration.  As the session opens a surprising move is made by nine members of the US House.

Government Executive reports that these Representatives have already signed a letter to all members that the Federal Employees have ‘paid their fair share’.

Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va.; Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.; Robert J. Wittman, R-Va.; Donna F. Edwards, D-Md.; John P. Sarbanes, D-Md.; and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., all signed the letter.

It is no surprise that all of these Reps surround the Washington D.C. area since these districts are very heavily populated with Federal workers.

“We respectfully request that you carefully consider the implications that any proposed agreement would have on these Americans so that it reflects the substantial budget savings that the federal workforce has contributed thus far.”

Over the last two years Congress has trimmed the budget to a tune of $103 Billion dollars  right from the Federal workers pockets.  They accomplished this with combination of pay freezes and an increase in retirement contributions.

These nine House Reps are not alone.  The Senators are already making their statements to leave the Feds out of the debt deal.

“Sen. [Daniel] Akaka opposes using any employee benefit as a pay-for because federal workers are already sacrificing with the pay freeze and changes to annuity contributions for new employees,” Jesse Broder Van Dyke, a spokesman for the Hawaii Democratic senator, told Government Executive.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Government Executive he thinks federal employees have paid their fair share.

“Federal workers have already sacrificed tens of billions of dollars over the past several years toward reducing the deficit,” Cummings said. “House Republicans should stop treating middle-class federal employees like a piggy bank they can raid without asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute their fair share. If we’re serious about resolving the fiscal cliff, we must take a balanced approach that includes both increased revenue and targeted spending cuts while protecting middle-class American workers.”

Labor unions have been up and down the hill working to protect the pay of the members. Recently a coalition of Postal and Federal unions wrote a letter of their own to Congress. They stated

“Federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans,” the group wrote. “No other group has been asked to financially contribute the way they have, and it is time our nation’s leaders found other ways to reduce the deficit than continually taking from those who have dedicated their lives to public service.”

Federal employees must protect themselves from the crushing cuts that could be coming down on Federal workers.  With the help of some very powerful unions and allies on both sides of the aisle, the Federal employees may just make it through this round of budget cuts.