Day of Action

Today is a progressive “day of action” on the fiscal cliff negotiations with a bunch of organizations holding events around the country.

Here’s one from the AFL-CIO. You can click over to find the event near you:


After the 2012 election, Congress returns to Washington for a “lame-duck” session and faces a series of high-stakes decisions with far-reaching consequences for workers and the economy. Many of these decisions involve issues that have been at the center of this election campaign, such as tax cuts for the wealthy and benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Some politicians and Wall Street executives want a “grand bargain” that could cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, all to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

Working families across the country are coming together to tell their members of Congress:

– NO tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans;

– NO benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

There are others as well, which you’ve probably already received in your email box this AM. If nothing else, this is a day to call your congressional representative and tell him or her that you expect them to protect vital programs and vote against any deal that cuts them. remember, this is a manufactured “crisis” over a manufactured deficit which will be made worse by austerity not better. There is no reason we have to cut these programs — they want to cut these programs.

Here’s Scott Lemieux with a nice short comment on the state of the negotiations:

The actual deal apparently being discussed — trading terrible Medicare policy changes for less than you’d get in upper-class tax rate increases if you just did nothing — would be an incredibly bad deal that suggests that Obama hasn’t learned anything about dealing with congressional Republicans. Right, you have to give something to get something — but the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the defense cuts in the sequester already provide plenty of leverage.

So why on earth are we talking about making a major policy concession on Medicare in exchange for unspecified concessions that Obama can probably get using the leverage derived from the sequester?

Going over the cliff is entirely in the president’s hands. He just handily won re-election and he can dictate the terms. There is no reason for any “concession”, certainly not now.

If the Republicans insist on holding the debt ceiling hostage next month, the president also has the high ground, even higher than he had in the last go around. There is certainly no reason to prematurely capitulate on that basis. Unless, of course, it isn’t a capitulation but a true meeting of the minds. That’s what we don’t know.

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