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More Tax Cuts? Or Keep Social Security?

 

Something to keep in mind while you are watching tomorrow night’s debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan:

Back in 2001, then-President George Bush pushed through a package of “temporary” tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy.  Joe Biden voted against the tax cuts.  Paul Ryan voted in favor of them.

At the time, conservative pundits said the temporary tax cuts would generate 1.6 million new jobs by 2011 – and that would generate enough federal revenue to pay back the entire federal debt.  (You can read the 2001 Heritage Foundation report here.)

Instead, the tax cuts contributed to record-setting federal deficits.

In 2003, President Bush pushed through a second package of “temporary” tax cuts, which again mostly benefited the wealthy.  And again, Joe Biden voted “nay”; and Paul Ryan voted in favor.

A year later, the new jobs hadn’t materialized.  “Supply-side economics” hadn’t cut the federal debt.

But that didn’t stop the tax-cutters.  Instead, they pushed to have the “temporary” tax cuts made permanent.  Here’s the Associated Press report from February 13, 2004:

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Thursday that Congress should make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent and cover the $1 trillion price by trimming future benefits in Social Security and other entitlement programs.

Social Security?!!?

During the Bush presidency, Social Security was “running a surplus.”  More money was coming in through payroll taxes than was being paid out in retirement benefits.  And the federal government borrowed every single penny of that surplus.

Today, the Social Security Trust Fund is the single largest creditor of the federal government.  Over $2.7 trillion of the federal debt is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund.  And that’s about the same amount as the 10-year cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%.

That’s what you should keep in mind during tomorrow night’s debate: this election is coming down to a choice between tax cuts for the rich and financial security for the rest of us.

Social Security has stopped running a surplus, now that the Baby Boomers are retiring. Will the federal government honor its IOUs to working families?  Or will the $2.7 trillion in federal debt get washed off the books by the proposed Romney-Ryan “reform” of Social Security?

Union members know what it’s like to see pension benefits vanish.  It’s become all-too-common for corporations to use bankruptcy court to get “relief” from their pension obligations; American Airlines is just one example.  More than 4,000 corporate pension programs are now in the trusteeship of the federal government.  (You can download the list — representing more than 2 million American families! —  here.)

Most of us have been paying into the Social Security system for decades.  We don’t want to see our benefits disappear through a Romney-Ryan “reform” of the Social Security system.  (One more reason why we don’t want to elect a President who will “manage” the federal government as if it were a corporation.)

Tax cuts for the wealthy didn’t create jobs in 2001.

More tax cuts didn’t create jobs in 2003.

Tax cuts in 2013 won’t create jobs, either – but they may cost us our Social Security benefits.

Please remember that, as you watch Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in the Vice Presidential debate tomorrow night at 9:00 pm.

 

Who does Paul Ryan Pledge Allegiance to?

Paul Ryan started his political career working as an intern in the office of Wisconsin Senator Robert Kasten—one of the people who helped launch ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council).

Then, Ryan went to work as a speechwriter for Congressman Jack Kemp – another of ALEC’s founding fathers.

Then Ryan went to work for then-Senator Sam Brownback – whose ties to ALEC are so close that he wrote the introduction to one of their reports, and just this past Monday headlined a political fundraiser sponsored by a group of lobbyists with ALEC ties.

When he ran for Congress – at age 28 – Ryan’s resume was already closely tied to ALEC.  His first campaign was financed by big-name PACS with ties to ALEC including: Koch Industries, Federal Express, Union Pacific Corporation, American Council of Life Insurance, National Auto Dealers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and National Beer Wholesalers.  Even the Outback Steakhouse PAC made the maximum contribution of $5.000.

Where do you think his allegiance lies?

Just take a look at his signature piece of legislation, the most recent House Budget.  How many of its provisions were drawn from ALEC’s wish list?

Ryan’s budget would convert Medicaid to a block-grant program, allowing funds to be awarded further away from prying eyes.  That’s been on ALEC’s wish list since 1996.  Block grants allow state and local officials wide latitude in deciding how the money is spent and who receives it.  The federal government is currently investigating how millions of dollars in block grants were spent in Wisconsin.

Ryan’s budget would “reform” the Pell grant program to focus on cost-per-student.  Targeting government aid to programs with low cost-per-student has been on ALEC’s wish list since 2009.  According to ALEC, “officials should recognize the value of for profit providers…which are primarily open-access systems that serve students at the least expense.”  Education by the Wal-Mart Method.

Ryan’s budget would eventually privatize Medicare.  Yes, that has also been on ALEC’s wish list for years and years.  Turning Medicare into a voucher plan allows the insurance industry to siphon off millions of dollars in fees.

If you went all the way through Ryan’s budget, how many other ALEC priorities would you find in the fine print?

Who does Paul Ryan pledge allegiance to?

One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all?  Or to all those “corporate people” Mitt Romney talks about, who have been bankrolling Paul Ryan’s campaigns and spoonfeeding him ideas?

Haven’t heard of it?  The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is
the ultimate smokefilled back room.
ALEC’s corporate contributors pay a king’s ransom to gain access to legislators and distribute their corporate-crafted legislation.  The result has been a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation being funneled into state capitols.  Read more in the American Association for Justice report “ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America” at bit.ly/9hddBp

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