Showdown in Washington, D.C.

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There's a showdown in Washington D.C. and our future is at stake. Which side is your member of Congress on? Prosperity for working families and the middle class? Or more for millionaires and CEO’s ?

There's a showdown in Washington D.C. and our future is at stake. Which side is your member of Congress on? Prosperity for working families and the middle class? Or more for millionaires and CEO’s ?

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  • [last updated: 10.29.12 noon] TheElection is over. And now Congress and the President have some huge decisions to make. Decisions between two very different visions for how to address our nation’s problems.
  • And it’s our future – our nation’s and our families’ future – that’s at stake.
  • But before we get to the decisions immediately in front of us, it’s important to understand how we got into this mess. It didn’t happen overnight. For the past three decades, hourly wages are stuck at the same level in terms of purchasing power (1). And average family income has barely increased – and that only because more women went to work. Meanwhile, the super-rich got a lot, lot richer – their share of national income quadrupled (2). Literally at the expense of working families. The economy moved forward, but all the gains went to the ultra-rich. If economic progress had been shared fairly, the average family would have $9,220 more income (3).Sources: (1) Saving the American Dream: The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of America’s Middle Class, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, September 2011. (2) Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, Jacob S. Hacker and Nate Loewentheil, 2012. (3)State of Working America, the Inequality Tax, Economic Policy Institute, http://stateofworkingamerica.org/inequality/income-inequality/
  • At the same time, huge corporations cut our wages and benefits and shipped our jobs overseas. According to J.P. Morgan, 75% of the increase in corporate profits from 2000-2007 came from cuts in wages and benefits (1). Now corporations are sitting on some $2 trillion in cash. Money that they are not investing in jobs, at least here (2). Why? Because with so many people out of work and working families making less, there is lower demand for their products. To get the economy going, we need to put money in the pockets of working Americans. Sources; (1) If Labor Dies, What’s Next? Harold Myerson, The American Prospect, Sept/Oct 2012. (2) U.S. Companies Sitting on $2 Trillion in Liquid Assets, National Public Radio, 12/10/10.
  • It is working families and the middle class that are the engines of our economy. The economy moves forward when people have good jobs, can educate their kids, shop on Main Street, afford their health care and retire in security.
  • But building a strong middle class doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by decisions we make together. Decisions to invest in people – a world class education, a decent place to live and raise our kids, affordable health care. Decisions to pave the way for businesses to invest and innovate – rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, building a 21st century electrical grid that will save energy and money. by setting rules so that businesses benefit our communities – like putting people to work at home, paying decent wages and benefits and and safeguarding our air and water.
  • The problem of course is that those aren’t the decisions we’ve been making. The deficit got bigger as we gave more tax cuts to the super-rich, including giving even more tax breaks for stock market gains, so that the rich now pay lower rates than the middle-class. And by giving even more tax loopholes to big business – tax loopholes for big oil and to corporations that ship our jobs overseas. Plus, we took on two wars, without paying for them. And when the economy crashed, that hiked the deficit even more. What have we done to try to reduce the deficit? Instead of raising taxes on the wealthy and corporate tax evaders, we’ve laid off 580,000 public employees. States have cut teachers, health care and firefighters (1). And last year, the federal government cut $1.5 trillion in spending (2). Those measures have meant more people out of work, digging us in a deeper hole.Sources: (1) A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America’s Workforce, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, Brookings Institute, August 2012. (2) How the Across-the-Board Cuts in the Budget Control Act Will Work, Richard Kogan, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 2012.
  • It isn’t working. In fact, as a Nobel prize winning economist says, the best way to cut the deficit is to put America back to work. Working people power the economy with their spending, they pay taxes and they don’t need to rely on services like unemployment insurance and food stamps.
  • So that’s how we got here. We can’t kick the big decisions down the road any longer. Last year, when Congress could not agree on a budget solution, they put in huge automatic cuts in spending, scheduled to start in 2013. That’s the same date that income tax rates will go up. The combination of cuts and tax increases will send the country back into recession. In just one year, 4.4 million Americans will lose their jobs. Congress and the President must act by early next year to avoid another crash. Source: A Fiscal Obstacle Course, Not a Cliff, Economic Policy Institute and The Century Foundation, 9/18/12.
  • And with states across the country facing budget shortfalls and shrinking federal revenues, governors and state legislators will have to make decisions too. Will they raise taxes on the rich or keep making cuts in services to balance state budgets?
  • In Washington and in state capitals across the country, it’s a showdown between two visions. Prosperity for working families and the middle class. Or even more for millionaires and CEOs.
  • Let’s take a closer look at the debate in Washington. Congress and the President will need to make decisions in four areas: taxes, security for seniors; vital services for working families; and creating good jobs.
  • Let’s first look at taxes. The budget passed by Republicans in the House would actually give millionaires another $160,000 in tax breaks (1) . And would open up another loophole for corporations that ship jobs overseas. Instead, we should be cutting the loophole for big businesses that ship our jobs overseas. And we should end the tax breaks for the 2% who earn more than $250,000 and use that money to reduce the deficit and avoid cuts in vital services for working families. Source: (1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/middleclassreport_7_24_2012.pdf
  • Here is a decision that Republicans actually made in their budget. They voted to make cuts that would push 400,000 moms, babies and kids off the WIC nutrition program for a year. That cost the same amount of money as just one week of tax breaks for 300,000 millionaires. What choice would you make? Source: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/news/2011/06/09/9738/infographic-tax-cuts-for-millionaires-vs-nutrition-assistance/.
  • The next set of big choices is on the programs that provide security to our nation’s seniors: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
  • Let’s start with Medicare. Very clear choices here. On one side, the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher to buy private insurance. This doesn’t actually save any money. Instead, it cuts how much the federal government would spend by shifting those costs onto seniors – more than $6,000 a year more seniors would pay out of pocket for health care. And if that isn’t enough, it raises the age for getting on Medicare to 67. Meaning lots more people out of health coverage just as they are getting older and need it more than ever. And with their intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare – Republicans would reverse $716 billion in savings in Medicare waste, cutting 8 years off the Medicare trust fund. It would start running short in 2016. Instead we need to keep the promise of Medicare’s guaranteed benefits from your choice of doctor. And keep the Medicare age at 65. And keep those savings that will extend the trust fund until 2024.
  • Now let’s turn to Social Security. Social Security does not contribute one dime to the deficit. But that doesn’t stop some powerful forces from wanting to make so called adjustments in Social Security that would lead to middle-income seniors seeing their benefits but by 15% to 20% (1). There’s no reason to even consider that. as there’s another easy, fair alternative. If we require people who make more than $110,000 a year to keep paying into Social Security on more of their incomes, we can extend the Social Security trust fund to 2075 and beyond (2). What’s your choice: benefit cuts or asking upper income people to pay into Social Security like everyone else? Sources (1) http://www.nextnewdeal.net/simpson-bowles-balanced-take-look-its-supporters (2) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/jan-june05/ss_6-15.html
  • While most people think of Medicaid as providing health coverage for poor families, Medicaid is also the other big retirement security program for seniors. Here again the choice is clear. Now the way Medicaid works is that for each person who needs services – like nursing home and home care for seniors and people with disabilities – the federal government pays from half to most of the cost and states pick up the rest. But under the House Republican budget, the federal government would give states a fixed amount of money, which would not go up as more people got Medicaid services. The result would be either big cuts in health care services or big tax increases for states, or both! Instead, we should keep Medicaid as a system that provides reliable federal funding for seniors, and people with disabilities. And for all the families that rely on Medicaid for their health care.
  • That brings us to the third set of choices facing Congress and the President. The House Republican budget would cut a huge chunk out of vital programs for working and middle class families, like Head Start (1) and Pell grants for college tuition (1). They even voted to eliminate the program that funds Meals on Wheels (2), which yes, is a government funded program. And it would end unemployment benefits for folks who have been looking for work for more than six months. That’s 5 million workers, including many older workers who employers shun (3). The better choice is to keep vital services for working families and support people while they are looking for a job. Sources: (1) http://www.chn.org/pdf/2012/BudgetReport3_29_12.pdf (2) Republicans use food aid, health care, Meals on Wheels to protect Pentagon from budget cuts, Associated Press, 5/7/12. (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics press release, August 3, 2012
  • And then there’s the most important thing we can do to build a strong middle class; assure that every American who wants to work has a good job. The cuts in the House Republican budget are so huge that in 20134 alone, 4.1 million workers would lose their jobs. Why – because that takes $404 billion out of the economy, money spent on hiring workers and buying goods and services (1). That would send the economy back into a tailspin. Remember, the quote from the Nobel Prize economist we talked about a few minutes ago: the best way to attack the deficit is to put America back to work. Instead we can create 10 million jobs in two years with our Good Jobs for America Plan: jobs rebuilding our infrastructure; hiring back teachers and firefighters and putting people to work in day care for young children and home care for seniors. Investing in green jobs that will put people to work saving energy in our communities while saving money for our families and businesses. And providing jobs for young people, so they get that crucial training and experience at work.(2)Source: (1) Ryan budget would cost jobs, Ethan Pollack, Economic Policy Institute, 3/21/12 (2) Based on estimates of jobs created through American Jobs Act and the Recovery Act.
  • As we’ve been saying, budget cuts lead to people losing their jobs. But if we are going to make tough choices on the deficit, let’s make smart ones. It turns out that some choices cost lots of jobs and others not as many. As you can see, ending the Bush tax cuts for incomes over a quarter million dollars costs only half the jobs as middle-class tax cuts and a fraction of jobs lost by cutting vital programs and ending unemployment insurance for those out of work more than 6 months. Source: A Fiscal Obstacle Course, Not a Cliff, Economic Policy Institute and The Century Foundation, 9/18/12.
  • Here’s how that translates into real budget choices. If we end the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 and then use that revenue to stop the automatic spending cuts and cuts to UI -- we can keep hundreds of thousands of Americans working.  So what choice would you make? Which is smarter? Which is more fair?
  • So you can see how much is at stake for our nation’s and families futures. It is a showdown in Washington between two visions. More tax breaks and loopholes for millionaires and CEOs. Cutting benefits in the programs that give our seniors security in their retirement. Slashing programs that working and middle-class families count on every day. In short, trying trickle down, again. Our vision is based on 4 pillars. Number 1 - fair taxes – starting by ending the Bush tax cuts above $250,000. Number 2 – no benefit cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Number 3 - protect vital programs for our families. And number 4 – Good jobs for America. That’s a path to prosperity for working and middle class families, the engine of our economy.
  • When will Congress and the President need to act? Despite what you hear, the deadline is not the end of the year. Because the impact of the tax increases and spending cuts take some time to take place. But the stakes are high if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement early in 2013.
  • Of course, that won’t stop big corporations from trying to stampede Congress into a so-called “Grand Bargain” of ending some tax breaks on the rich and making huge cuts in Social Security, Medicare and vital programs. Bank of America, Citicorp – the banks that crashed the economy – and other big companies are spending $60 million on a campaign to protect their profits and ruin our futures. It’s no bargain. It’s a grand swindle and we need to let every member of Congress know we won’t be fooled.
  • There are two sides in this showdown. We need to ask members of Congress, whose side are you on? The super-rich and CEO campaign contributors or working and middle-class families?
  • Our choice is clear, prosperity for all. Here’s what we can do together to make sure that Congress takes our side in the showdown.

Transcript

  • 1. SHOWDOWNIN WASHINGTON
  • 2. It’s our future at stake
  • 3. Working families and the middle class are getting crushedOver the last 30 yearsthe super-rich grabbedmore at our expense.
  • 4. While mega corporations cutour wages and benefits andshipped our jobs overseas.
  • 5. The middle class is the engine of the economyThe economymovesforward whenpeople havegood jobs, caneducate theirkids, affordtheir healthcare and retirein security.
  • 6. We build the middle class by decisions we make together. DECISIONS TOINVEST IN PEOPLEOpportunity CREATE GOOD JOBSand securityfor families. Pave the way for STRONG COMMUNITIES businesses to innovate meet Common sense the future. rules that benefit businesses and communities.
  • 7. We’re not broke - we’ve been robbed!Taxes on the super-rich cut in half.Corporate taxes at historic low asshare of federal revenues.States cutting schools, health care, firefighters.Federal government cut $1 trillion in 2011.
  • 8. “The best way to attack the deficit is to put America back to work.” Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
  • 9. The Election is over – and now it’s timefor Washington to make big decisionsIf the President and Congress don’t take action byearly in 2013, automatic spending cuts and taxincreases will mean: A double dip recession – driving the economy into reverse again. 4.4 million Americans will lose their jobs.
  • 10. States will decide too
  • 11. A Showdown Between 2 Visions Prosperity for all –working families and the middle class More for millionaires and CEOs
  • 12. Two visions – Four choices1. Fair Taxes2. Security for our seniors3. Vital services for working families4. Good jobs
  • 13. 1. Fair Taxes Prosperity for working More for millionaires and CEOs families & the middle class – the House Republican budget• End Bush tax cuts for • Give millionaires a $160,000 incomes over $250,000. tax break.• Saves more than $1 • New tax loopholes for trillion – use that to corporations that ship jobs reduce the deficit and overseas. protect vital services for working families and the middle class.
  • 14. What choice would you make? Under the House Republican budget1 YEAR of cuts in 1 WEEK of tax cutsnutrition to to 300,000400,000 moms, millionairesbabies and kids(WIC)Cost $833 million Cost $866 million
  • 15. 2. Security for our SeniorsNo cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
  • 16. Medicare for our seniorsNO cuts in Medicare benefits Cut benefits in Medicare• Keep Medicare’s • Turn Medicare into a voucher guaranteed benefits and for private insurance. Delay eligibility at 65. until age 67.• Add 8 years to the Medicare • Cut 8 years off of the Medicare trust fund. trust fund.
  • 17. Social Security for our seniors No cuts in social security Cuts In social security benefits• Extend the life of Social • Cuts in benefits –Cut benefits Security until 2075 by to middle-income seniors by limiting the cap for upper 15%. Included in the income people. Simpson-Bowles deficit plan.
  • 18. Medicaid for our seniors Protect Medicaid for seniors Cuts in Medicaid for the most in long term and home care vulnerable seniors• Keep federal promise to • Slash federal funding for support Medicaid funding state Medicaid for long-term care. programs, limits federal funds to states no matter how many seniors need care.
  • 19. 3. Vital services for working families Protect working families Hurt working families• Keep unemployment • Cut unemployment benefit insurance for people out for people out of work for of work for more than 6 more than 6 months. months. • House Republican budget in• Protect student first year of cuts: loans, Head Start, Meals – Cut 75,000 kids off of Head on Wheels and other Start. vital programs. – 1.3 million college kids lower or no Pell Grants for tuition. – House Republicans voted to eliminate the program that funds Meals on Wheels.
  • 20. 4. Good jobs for America Invest in jobs for working House Republican budget cutsfamilies and the middle class 4.1 million jobs• Jobs to rebuild our • Huge cuts in services - $404 infrastructure. billion in just 2 years – would mean that 4.1 million• Jobs for Americans would lose their teachers, firefighters, caring jobs in 2013 alone. for children and seniors.• Green jobs – making our homes and buildings energy efficient and investing in renewable energy.• Youth jobs.
  • 21. Jobs not cuts We have tough choices to make on the Deficit. Let’s make smart ones.Number of jobs gone for every $1 billion in deficit reduction:Ending long-term unemployment 12,000 jobs gone benefits:Automatic spending cuts: 11,000 jobs goneEnd Bush tax cuts for working families and 4,000 jobs gone the middle class:End Bush tax cuts over $250,000: 2,000 jobs gone
  • 22. Jobs not cuts What choice would you make for 2013? Keep Bush tax cuts over $250,000 OR use this revenue to STOP2/3’s of automatic spending cuts + 451,000 jobs
  • 23. Showdown in Washington Prosperity for workingfamilies and the middle class More for Millionaires and CEO’s• End the Bush tax cuts for • More tax breaks for incomes over $250,000. millionaires.• No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid • Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. and Social Security.• Protect vital services for • Slash programs that working working families. families count on.• Get America back to work. • Try trickle down… again!
  • 24. What is the deadline?It’s NOT the end of the yearBut Congress must act byearly in 2013 to avoid:• Double dip recession• 4.4 million more jobs gone
  • 25. Danger: Grand SwindleBeware the so called “Grand Bargain” being pushedby big corporations, like Bank of America.
  • 26. We need to ask the president and members of congressWhose sideare you on?
  • 27. We choose: prosperity for allHere’s how you can send a message to the President and your member of Congress: I choose prosperity for all! www.usaction.org/showdown