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by Sarita Gupta
In the 2012 elections, the American people voted for strengthening our economy and putting people back to work. “We’re all in this together” defeated “You’re on your own.” Or so we thought.
It seems that since Nov. 6, many politicians forgot that the people they represent used their voice at the polls to stand up for working families and the programs they rely on. Democratic lawmakers should resist any “grand bargain” on the budget that protects the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.
There’s a palpable sense of urgency being manufactured inside the beltway to rush lawmakers into striking a budget deal, but a grand bargain is neither inevitable nor necessary.
The best way to solve America’s debt crisis is to fix our revenue crisis, and we can do that quickly by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent and creating jobs to get our economy moving again.
Working families cannot afford any more cuts when wages are stagnant and poverty is increasing. Economic growth has been too slow, consumer demand is too weak, and average families are tightening their belts while corporate profits are soaring to historic highs.
By pursuing this bargain, Congress is having the wrong discussion about the wrong policy prescriptions at the wrong time. The truth is that the people hawking a “compromise” are wealthy corporate CEOs hiding behind the “Fix the Debt” campaign. A recent Institute for Policy Studies report found that 63 publicly held companies whose CEOs are pushing these bad deals stand to gain as much as $134 billion in windfalls if one of their proposals are approved. It’s time those corporations ante up and pay their fair share.
If we allow the Bush tax cuts for earners of $250,000 and above to simply expire, we save $1 trillion over 10 years and make a critical dent in our federal deficit. Instead of cutting the jobs and entitlements of working class Americans, we need to ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more.
We can’t let corporate America undo the results of the election. Working people won’t take that lying down. And Democrats should hold their ground.
The grand bargain is a grand swindle.
© 2012 The Progressive
Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs with Justice, a national network of more than 40 local coalitions of labor, community, student, and faith organizations, working together to build a broader global movement for economic and social justice.
For background notes on the "fiscal cliff" swindle, see: