What’s Next in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate?

AFL-CIO Now

01/11/2013; Kelly Ross

It’s back! Just when you thought you might never hear the words “fiscal cliff” again, the sequel to this horror movie is about to be released. Look for it in your local theater, radio, television and website – non-stop, 24/7 – beginning sometime in February.

Yes, those irrepressible Republicans in Congress have cooked up yet another manufactured crisis and are once again holding the U.S. economy hostage. This time they are threatening to cause a U.S. government default unless they get their way. You know—the same stunt they pulled last summer. And what are congressional Republicans demanding as ransom to spare the economy? The same things they were demanding last time we went through this ordeal: benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Please don’t encourage them. If they get away with hostage-taking this time, they’re going to do it again and again and again. Somebody has to stand up to the bullies. We are asking elected officials to stand up to Republican hostage-taking by doing the following:

  1. Oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
  2. Close loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans.

Any further deficit reduction should come from closing loopholes for Wall Street, drug companies and the richest 2% of Americans, not from budget cuts that threaten the 98% (such as cuts to education and vital services for low-income people). Here are a few examples of loopholes that should be closed:

  • Close tax loopholes that allow U.S. corporations to lower their effective tax rate when they send jobs overseas.
  • Close tax loopholes to make Wall Street firms pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Limit tax deductions for the richest 2% of Americans.
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