The Republicans' so-called "cut, cap and balance" plan—a gimmick that is more accurately described as the "duck, dodge and dismantle the government" plan—is scheduled to come before the House of Representatives for a vote as early as today. It would force huge cuts in our pension and health benefits next year by mandating another $100 billion in spending cuts in 2012, despite the continued jobs crisis.
But the plan is not just a simple budget bill. It is being paired with a radically right-wing version of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution. This "BBA on steroids" would:
- Make the destructively backward policies of the Tea Party Republicans permanent, mandating huge cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to reach an artificially low cap on national spending (18 percent of national output) at a time when the "Baby Boom" generation is starting to retire and our national infrastructure needs replacing.
- Make it impossible to ever raise taxes again by requiring a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, leaving the bandits on Wall Street forever free from having to pay their fair share and condemning the nation to the kind of gridlock that has plagued California for decades.
- Make every future recession worse by requiring a balanced budget every year, even when it would make sense to run a deficit to combat unemployment and/or to invest in our nation’s economic infrastructure.
Despite the GOP's political posturing, this is not a solution to America’s economic crisis.
The proposed cuts would make an already dire economic situation far worse for millions of Americans and would adversely affect seniors, children, vets and people with disabilities. And at a time when the federal government needs to invest in our communities to create jobs (at least until private investment picks up), this initiative would cripple the government’s efforts to do so.
Click here to look up your member of Congress' Washington office phone number, then call him or her and deliver this message:
"I strongly oppose H.R. 2560 and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Vote 'NO' on the 'cut, cap and balance' plan."
The national debt has increased dramatically over the past 10 years due to repeated tax cuts for the super wealthy, massive spending increases for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the negative impact of the recession on safety-net spending and tax revenues. But the solution is not to slash domestic spending for America’s most vulnerable. A more balanced plan that invests in our future, puts people back to work and emphasizes "shared sacrifice" is needed instead.
Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers