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Speaker Boehner’s ‘New Offer’ is ‘to make top 2% tax cuts permanent’?!?

House Speaker John Boehner

Speaker Boehner

Was House Speaker Boehner joking?

The press is beginning to report the details of his latest “offer” in the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Guess what?

The GOP’s newest proposal is to make the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of American… permanent.

Read about it here.

Guess the GOP still thinks they should be able to dictate the terms of the fiscal cliff “compromise”.  What a way to “fix” the crisis that Congress created.  Most of us are still hurting from one of the worst recessions in history; 12 million Americans are still unemployed.  Shouldn’t the GOP be concerned about something other than protecting the wealthy?

AFL-CIO President Trumka Statement on GOP Budget

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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.

More Tax Cuts? Or Keep Social Security?

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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.

 

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