For generations in this country any talk by an elected official of cutting Social Security meant political suicide.
Now, however, the idea of cutting Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal between Republicans and Democrats is gaining traction among members of both parties on the Super Committee. The so-called grand compromise is that Democrats would go along with cuts in Social Security if Republicans would budge on taxes for the rich. The Super Committee is supposed to come up with proposals to reduce the federal deficit by Thanksgiving, otherwise legislation now in place will force automatic and draconian cuts.
The apparent consensus by both Republicans and Democrats on the federal budget deficit Super Committee to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are an unacceptable outrage. Our so-called “representatives” on that committee have no right to ask American workers to shoulder even a fraction of an ounce more of a debt burden created by Wall Street greed.
Any “deal” that results in cuts to these programs will be seen by the broad majority in this country as a deal crafted by and for the one percent. The Super Committee, behind closed doors, is crafting a deal that makes the 99 percent locked outside its doors pay more than it has already paid.
Behind its closed doors the “bi-partisan” Super Committee is drafting a plan to slam our parents and grandparents with big cuts in Social Security.
Millions expected that at least the Democrats on that committee would work on their behalf and support measures that would shift the burden of this crisis to the wealthy. Perhaps because of the mandatory cuts hanging over the nation’s head or because of pressure from top leadership they have decided not to do this.
Any politician who decides to go along with Republican plans to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, however, is making a big mistake. A huge majority would decide that the politician in question was with the one percent, not with the people. Democrats who allow themselves to be put in that position will suffer on Election Day, when their own base fails to come out to support them.
The Super Committee looks, to the American people, to be a committee of the one percent. How else could it load more burdens on working people while the wealthiest Americans carry nothing? Workers have already given their jobs, their wages and their homes to pay for the debts owed by Wall Street.
Only a committee of the one percent could tell minorities and the poor that it’s OK if they lose Social Security which, for them, is their only source of income.
With income inequality at historic levels, only a committee of the one percent could propose cuts that make that income gap even more unequal.
We reject the proposals of the Super Committee of the One Percent and support instead a program for the 99 percent, including a surtax on millionaires, taxing capital gains as regular income, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire, a financial transactions tax and ending tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.
The AFL-CIO has launched a national campaign to urge Congress and the Senate to say “no” to all the Super Committee cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 700,000 online activists are being geared up to stop these cuts. The federation has announced that everyone can join that fight by texting DEBT to 235246 to send a message to their lawmakers.
Photo: At the Village Halloween Parade Oct. 31, New York City. About 200 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators joined the marchers, wearing costumes that reflect their protest. (Tina Fineberg/AP)