As we try to soak in what the President just had to say, keep in mind that there’s a growing citizen-led movement, backed by labor and progressive groups, to push Democrats away from anything approaching a grand bargain that would cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security (they should also be protective of regular discretionary spending, but that’s besides the point at the moment). Scenes like this are playing out all over the country.
Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own” blared as local labor leaders and a top Democrat rallied against possible federal cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid and tax breaks for the rich.
Taking care of their own was indeed the vibe Thursday in front of the Social Security Administration building at 4th and Spring Garden streets.
“Do not mess with our Social Security, don’t mess with Medicare, do not mess with Medicaid,” Rep. Bob Brady, the city Democratic leader, told a crowd of union members and community supporters.
“I’ve just got to talk to my mother to put some fire in me, to make sure they don’t touch her Social Security,” Brady said. He said bills are rising for the elderly, but Social Security isn’t covering their expenses.
This is in the days after the election, when the public is supposed to be burned out on campaigning and rhetoric and looking ahead to an era of working together. But these activists are out in force expressing their principles in the upcoming fight.
Elsewhere, 146 national groups have made their concerns known to President Obama, saying that the fiscal slope negotiations must result in job creation strategies and not any cuts to social insurance programs. Specifically, these groups want the sequester cancelled, revenue increased on hikes to the wealthy and corporations, job-side stimulus and no harm done to the safety net.
The groups include labor, communities of faith, civil rights organizations, Americans with disabilities, and good government groups. Here’s a critical excerpt:
As you work to craft a resolution to these economic and fiscal challenges, we urge you to embrace the call of the American people to focus on job creation and avoid any actions that would cost jobs, oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, protect our nation’s safety net, and oppose any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans [...]
Given the current state of the economy, we have serious concerns that many of the proposals under consideration would require substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts.
We have seen this all before, of course. It’s the first step of a familiar dance that almost never ends well. I don’t think anyone’s particularly fooled by it. Right now we’re in step one of that six-step process, the intransigence stage. The real effort right now comes in ensuring that the next steps, where the intransigent groups go soft and view the cuts as acceptable or the least-worst option, never come to pass.
I’ll put the entire letter, with all the named member organizations, on the flip, just so we have a record of it.
November 9, 2012
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
The undersigned, representing 146 national organizations, understand the urgent budget decisions we face as a nation over the next few months. As you work to craft a resolution to these economic and fiscal challenges, we urge you to embrace the call of the American people to focus on job creation and avoid any actions that would cost jobs; oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; protect our nation’s safety net; and oppose any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans.
Despite some important steps, the economy still has a long way to go to achieve a full recovery. More than 20 million people are in need of full-time work, and unemployment continues to hover around 8 percent. Given the current state of the economy, we have serious concerns that many of the proposals under consideration would require substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts.
With these pressing concerns in mind, we urge that any budget agreement adopted must include:
Creating jobs and growing the economy. While our economy is still struggling, we urge you to prioritize job creation and economic growth in any agreement adopted. It must include steps to spur private investment and to create targeted investments in infrastructure and education that will grow the economy and create quality jobs. There are proposals available to that end, including the American Jobs Act. It is imperative that the administration and Congress address this urgent need.
No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits or shifting costs to beneficiaries or the states. Millions of seniors, children, people with disabilities, and others, depend on these vital programs and they must not be cut. They are a cornerstone of our nation’s health care and retirement systems, and a promise made to future generations.
No cuts to the safety net and vital services for low-income people. We should not allow the fiscal burden to be shifted to poor and working families who have already borne a disproportionate share of the nation’s economic pain in recent years.
Stopping the sequester. We share the concerns of economists, small business owners, state and local governments, and the millions of individuals we represent, that sequestration will harm our fragile recovery, will result in a substantial loss of jobs in both the public and private sectors, and will make harmful cuts in vital services needed to promote health, development, and economic security for people and communities nationwide that have already sustained $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction losses. We urge Congress to stop the sequester with a responsible solution that includes new revenue.
Requiring the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share, starting with ending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent. We urge you to allow tax cuts that benefit only the richest 2 percent to expire on schedule, which would save nearly $1 trillion in revenues and reduced interest payments. While a wide range of programs have been cut in recent years, the very wealthy and corporations have so far not been required to contribute a penny in additional revenues toward deficit reduction. Securing substantial new revenue from those with the greatest ability to contribute will allow us to meet deficit reduction goals, chart a more sustainable fiscal path forward, invest in the job creation measures our economy needs, and protect the programs and services that families depend upon.
Thank you for your consideration…
9to5, National Association of Working Women
AFGE National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals
African American Health Alliance
African American Ministers in Action
Alliance for a Just Society
Alliance for Children and Families
Alliance for Retired Americans
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Association for Affirmative Action
American Association of People with Disabilities
American Family Voices
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), AFL-CIO
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Americans for Financial Reform
The Arc of the U.S.
Asian American Justice Center, member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Black Leadership Forum
Campaign for America’s Future
Caring Across Generations
Center for Community Change
Center for Law and Social Policy
Center for Women Policy Studies
The Children’s Defense Fund
The Children’s Leadership Council
Cities For Progress, Institute for Policy Studies
The City Project
Coalition on Human Needs
Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO
Community Organizations in Action
Compassion & Choices
Council for Opportunity in Education
Democrats for Education Reform
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
Developing Communities Project
Direct Care Alliance
Disability Policy Consortium
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
Early Childhood Policy Research
Education Reform Now
The Education Trust
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
The Equal Justice Society
Every Child Matters Education Fund
Family Values @ Work
First Five Years Fund
Green for All
Half in Ten
Health Care for America Now
Healthy Teen Network
Hmong National Development, Inc.
Institute of Social Medicine & Community Health
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers, AFL-CIO
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Labor Committee
Labor Project for Working Families
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Legal Aid Society –Employment Law Center
Main Street Alliance
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association
Medicare Rights Center
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National American Indian Housing Council
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Association of Letter Carriers
National Association of Social Workers
National Black Child Development Institute
National Black Justice Coalition
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Congress of American Indians
National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)
The National Council on Independent Living
National Disability Rights Network
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Federation of Federal Employees
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Health Law Program
National Indian Child Welfare Association
National Indian Health Board
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National People’s Action
National Transitional Jobs Network
National Women’s Law Center
National Women’s Health Network
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Partnership for Working Families
People For the American Way
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
Public Advocates Inc.
Public Education Network
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Rebuild the Dream
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team
SMART – Sheet Metal Air Rail & Transportation Association
Social Security Works
Strengthen Social Security Coalition
Strong Families Initiative
Tradeswomen Now and Tomorrow
Transportation Learning Center
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Women
United Neighborhood Centers of America
United Steelworkers International Union
Voices for America’s Children
Wider Opportunities for Women
Young Elected Officials Network
Young People For