|I Met a Young Man on Furlough|
Riding an elevator yesterday, I noticed a young man wearing a Federal Environmental Services jacket and asked him how things were going. Once he realized I was asking about the status of his employment, he shared that he was experiencing his first of twenty-one furlough days. Additionally, the federal government match of his pension deduction would never be realized for these days. In the lobby he began to describe how this is impacting his life–he was about to get married–and his frustration was evident. This is but one of several hundred thousand stories that will be told across the country. My brother-in-law, working for the federal government has been told to expect forty-plus days of furlough. I imagine each of us has a family member, friend, or neighbor whose day-to-day life is assaulted by the sequester. Have a story to share?
Meanwhile, corporate and bank executives will receive bonuses and incentives that are unconscionable while continuing to avoid taxes on much of their good fortune.
It is too late to avoid the sequester. It may be even too late to expect Congress to make corrective adjustments for the current fiscal year. But know about a House Progressive Caucusplan that was offered to replace the entire sequester with a plan identifying equivalent savings and that was highly favored in a survey. Its main points:
SurveyMonkey‘s poll, which surveyed 550 people, focused on congressional proposals. Polls findings:*
The poll presented each plan without a label (sponsor). The no-label methodology was designed to avoid knee-jerk partisan reactions based upon one’s political inclinations by not indicating who had conceptualized each of the plans:
*SurveyMonkey is a web survey.
We would prefer to replace the sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The Progressive Caucus already introduced a bill called the
Balancing Act that reflects
what the American people voted for in November. It replaces the sequester with a fair approach to new revenue and necessary Pentagon budget cuts, and it creates jobs all over the country. It equalizes the budget cuts we’ve already made with revenue by closing tax loopholes for America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.
We shouldn’t sacrifice our economic recovery because Republicans are unwilling to vote for a penny in new contributions from their billionaire friends. . .
The consequences of more massive budget cuts are real. Economic growth will slow, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and more people will have to rely on government assistance to meet their basic needs. . .
In 2013 alone, seventy thousand children will be kicked off Head Start. More than one million kids will see their schools lose education funds. Emergency responders will lose their jobs, meaning slower response times and weaker disaster preparedness. Layoffs and furloughs for Social Security workers will cause delays and hassles for millions of seniors who depend on Social Security to put food on the table. Cuts to air traffic controllers and airport security agents will mean longer waits and travel disruptions. . .
Unlike the majority of our Republican colleagues, we opposed the Budget Control Act and sequestration when Republicans held the world economy hostage in 2011. They created this crisis, and Congress should fix it for the sake of the country before people start getting fired. . .
It’s time Republicans wake up to what’s really about to happen to America’s families. It’s time to eliminate the sequester. . .
|Don’t Be Fooled|
There’s a really slick website promoting the notion of fixing our nation’s debt. Photos atop its banner represent what most of us believe America should look like. Don’t be fooled. This is a charade, a false promise, corruption of a solution.
Fix the Debt touts a citizens’ petition, with 346,000 names. However, the Center for Media and Democracy, which last year used leaked documents to report on the secretive
American Legislative Exchange Council, has traced the corporate ties and lobbying records of Fix the Debt leaders.
Its Board is composed of people on the corporate boards of GE, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, major private equity firms, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
CMD‘s director: They really are posturing as a grassroots movement. They are putting forward this notion of these business leaders not as job creators, but as problem solvers on the economy – when in fact the record shows that a lot of these companies are actively lobbying to keep tax loopholes open and to promote other corporation-friendly policies.
You may or may not be surprised to see the Fix the Debt‘s leadership: Who We Are