December 13, 2012
TAKE ACTION: Please call and email President Obama right away, urging him not to drive women and their families off a (fiscal) cliff by caving to the outrageous demands of Republican leaders.
House Speaker John Boehner and other billionaire-funded insiders are putting near-suffocating pressure on the president to cave to their demands for minimal taxes on billionaires, to be paid for by cutting programs that middle-class and lower income women desperately need. Rumors are flying -- unconfirmed but very worrisome -- that the White House is considering making a deal with them.
We know that some Republicans in Congress are once again threatening to hold the debt ceiling (the government's authorization for borrowing money) hostage to the wish-list of the rich and powerful. Reports are that President Obama may compromise away part of the pre-Bush income tax rates on the wealthy, and protection of Social Security and Medicare, in exchange for avoiding another debt ceiling debacle.
Tell the president to stand strong for the voters who helped re-elect him! Urge him to safeguard our economic security and health needs in retirement. Tell him:
• Not to back down from allowing the full amount of the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners to expire
• Not to agree to the "chained CPI," a cruel and immediate cut in Social Security benefits;
• Not to not agree to raising the Medicare eligibility age;
• Not to agree to means-testing Medicare; and
• Not to agree to cutting Medicaid funding in any way.
Call President Obama at this number: 202-456-1111, the comment line, or 202-456-1414, White House switchboard.
Email the president with your own message by clicking on this link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
Right-wingers May Win - Reports are swirling inside the Beltway that President Obama and other key Democrats may agree to deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and even allow the top two percent to retain some of their Bush-era tax cuts, as part of an agreement with Republican negotiators. Responding to pressure from a multi-million dollar conservative corporate media and lobbying campaign about how terrible it would be to go over the (phony) fiscal cliff, several Democratic leaders -- and the President -- may well be ready to cave.
Agreeing Now a Bad Idea - Instead of taking the logical and least politically-costly route of waiting for the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of the year, some Democratic leaders are pressing for a deal now – a bad idea. Going off the fiscal "curb" or "slope" next year would give the Democrats the upper hand in federal spending/deficit reduction/debt ceiling negotiations. In fact, plans are being made to push through an agreement in early 2013 that would assure that middle class taxes do not rise, that spending cuts resulting from sequestration do not immediately take place, and that taxes on the rich are allowed to rise to the level they were under President Clinton.
It's true that Republicans are threatening to use the debt ceiling to hold the country hostage. But negotiating with hostage-takers is the wrong thing to do.
Chained CPI Means Huge Cuts in Social Security benefits - Making a foolish agreement that will be costly to millions of moderate and low-income retirees is the wrong way to go. The chained CPI will be especially hard on women who have less retirement income; many live very close to the poverty line at an average monthly Social Security benefit of slightly over $1,000. Adopting the chained CPI would be brutal to millions of retirees and near retirees because benefit reductions grow as seniors age. A cumulative reduction of 0.3 percent each year over time really adds up!
Raising the Medicare eligibility age would be another unacceptable benefit cut, and means-testing Medicare is equally undesirable. We need a stronger Medicare, not measures calculated to put us on a slippery slope of privatizing or "voucherizing" the entire system. Seniors -- especially senior women -- rely more than ever on Medicare as health care costs continue to rise and many have lost jobs or seen their incomes and savings decline. Finally, reducing federal funding for Medicaid will undermine implementation of the Affordable Care Act, harm low-income families who depend upon the program as their only source of health care coverage and threaten coverage for thousands of older women whose nursing home care is funded by Medicaid.
Jobs, Not Cuts – These programs should be strengthened, not cut. Democrats who are bending to Republican desires to weaken and eventually eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid need to know that a majority of the public -- of all political persuasions -- do not want this to happen. Recent polling by Lake Research shows that nearly 90 percent of the public does not believe that the federal deficit is the problem; 84 percent are opposed to cutting Social Security benefits.
The country needs jobs, real livable wage jobs and we need millions of them – in fact, full employment at decent wages and equal pay for work of equal value would be the best way to reduce the deficit. We have already cut programs like nutrition, family planning, job training and education by at least $1.5 trillion dollars under the Budget Control Act of 2011. It is time to stop balancing the federal budget on the backs of middle-class and lower-income families and require the wealthiest to start paying their fair share.
President Obama must hear from you. Call the White House NOW at this number: 202-456-1111, the comment line, or 202-456-1414, White House switchboard and send a strong and clear message.
Chained-CPI is a Stealth Cut to Social Security http://www.nwlc.org/resource/chained-cpi-stealth-cut-social-security
Obama and Boehner Talk Deficits at the White House http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/officials-foresee-progress-on-fiscal-talks
Why is Washington Reducing the Deficit Instead of Creating Jobs? http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/DeficitReductionExplainer_Demos.pdf