Trumka Supports the President’s Plan to Cut the Deficit

By Harry Kelber | The American Labor Reform Movement | November 30, 2012

Democrats in Congress are divided on how to deal with the problem of cutting the federal budget deficit, which President Obama has made a top priority for his second-term agenda.

Liberal Democrats want a bold blueprint that spares social programs from big spending cuts and provides a sharp counterpoint to the G.O.P.’s proposal, which includes a dramatic revamping of Medicare and Medicaid.

But others in the Party see significant spending cuts as necessary to get a deal with Republicans, who control the House and have enough votes to block any Senate Democratic plan.

Most Republicans are largely united. Most embrace the House plan, which would cut projected federal deficits by $4.4 trillion over 10 years without raising taxes., while demanding changes in government health programs.

Democrats in Congress hold differing views on what to do about Medicare, the 46-year-old government health-care program, which is expected to serve 48.5 million seniors and some disabled people this year. It’s expected to grow at a 5.6 percent rate through 2021, far more than the economy is expected to expand.

While many Democrats rule out any changes in Medicare, some including House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, are open to the idea.

Obama’s Concession to G.O.P. on Spending Cuts

The difference between Obama and the Republicans on cuts in entitlement spending during their private negotiations was sizeable. Obama wanted $400 billion more in revenue than he had originally asked for. In return, the President said he would agree to cut $250 billion more from Medicare in the next ten years, with $800 billion more in the decade after that.

And while Obama rejected raising the retirement age, he did acquiesce to changing the Social Security formula so that benefits would grow at a slower rate.

There is something repugnant in having Obama and Boehner meeting secretly and deciding which programs should be saved, defunded or totally eliminated. Why aren’t the proposed cuts publicized in advance so they could be discussed by potential victims? Why hasn’t the AFL-CIO intervened in a situation that gives enormous power to two elected officials, who can determine whether millions of Americans will still have a livelihood?

We should insist that those gigantic cuts in some two hundred programs be made public before they are legalized. We should protest this usurpation of economic power.

Harry on Facebook