MAINTAIN THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET,
WE NEED SHARED SACRIFICE
December 4, 2012
Article by Mark Jaffe
BALCONY Treasurer &
President, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Recently, two prominent Senate Democrats have fired off a letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to strike a "fiscal cliff" deal unless it has a
one-to-one ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Thomas Harkin told the President they and other lawmakers want to work with him to craft a balanced approach to reduce the deficit while creating jobs, rebuilding the infrastructure, and protecting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security from "harmful cuts."
We at the Business and Labor Coalition of New York , BALCONY, www.balconynewyork.com,wholeheartedly agree with those basic principles and urge lawmakers to insist on a program that protects small businesses, workers, the middle class, and the elderly from devastating cuts.
And as President of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce,
www.ny-chamber.com, I feel strongly that we must maintain the social safety net and encourage shared sacrifice in solving our nation's economic crisis. We must protect small business and encourage business economic well-being.
While some call such programs entitlements, we believe they are part of the crucial safety net that protects all Americans.
Voters spoke loud and clear on Nov. 6 that they wanted jobs, not cuts; a fair tax system that protects all of us, not just the super-rich and the rebuilding of our crumbling infrastructure, especially in New York and New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
While the exact details are yet to be worked out, we at BALCONY strongly believe that the best way to get our economy going again is to create jobs, support small businesses and protect the most vulnerable among us.
The Harkin-Rockefeller letter makes many good points - many of which we find important.
Among them, the lawmakers and BALCONY wants any deal to include a jobs component and continued support of unemployment insurance and education for creating jobs.
We want any deal to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and close loopholes that benefit the super-rich and big corporations.
We want President Obama to make sure that any deal protects Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and Social Security from harmful cuts, calling those programs a "vital lifeline to the middle class." Medicaid and Medicare are "already very efficient," and that Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit.
We want the President to reject the idea that defense cuts not be included in the deal, saying that would lead to "disproportionate" cuts in non-defense areas "that working families rely on.
We echo the sentiments in the letter, Harkin and Rockefeller "We are very concerned by reports in the press and elsewhere that some are considering deficit proposals that would threaten our still-fragile economic recovery and shift the burden squarely onto the middle class and vulnerable populations still struggling in today's economy."
We share those concerns and strongly urge the President and Congressional Democrats to resist any "grand bargain" that would undermine Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Some think we need to make a deal on this. We at BALCONY believe no deal is better than a bad one.