Who is the dumbest person in the history of mankind? AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

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Nov 11, 2010 11:28 am
Budget Commission to Workers: ‘Drop Dead’  

by Mike Hall, Nov 10, 2010

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Today’s preliminary report from the federal budget deficit commission, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, “tells working Americans to ‘Drop Dead.’”

Especially in these tough economic times, it is unconscionable to be proposing cuts to the critical economic lifelines for working people, Social Security and Medicare. Some people are saying this plan is just a “starting point.” Let me be clear, it is not.

The preliminary report, prepared by the commission’s co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, calls for deep spending cuts in vital programs, reduced Social Security benefits, tax code changes, including reduced corporate tax rates and lower tax rates for the wealthy, along with tax cuts for middle- and low-income workers.

John Irons, policy director at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), says today’s report “shows the commission is running severely off the track.”

In particular, nearly half of the adjustments come from cuts to discretionary spending—a portion of the budget that is not responsible for long-term deficits. The suggested reductions include a wide range of cuts that would cost jobs and increase financial burdens on working families.

 

Irons says the report does little to acknowledge that unemployment remains high and is expected to remain high for several years. But by starting huge spending cuts in 2012:

the report does not allow enough time for the economy to recover, nor does it call for the policies necessary to get the economy back on track. The spending reduction of over $68 billion in 2012 ramping up to $140 billion in 2015 would mean a slower economy and higher unemployment for an already weakened labor market.

The real effort to right the economy, says Trumka, should be:

focusing on the jobs deficit. Working families already paid for Wall Street’s party that tanked our economy. If we actually want to address our economic problems, we need to end tax breaks that send American jobs overseas and invest in creating jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and green technologies.

The commission’s final report is due Dec. 1 and it must be approved by 14 of the 18 commission members. If it is, it will go to Congress for a vote before the end of the year.

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