The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Urges Senate to Reject Obama Tax Plan Economy Can Be Stimulated Without Undermining Social Security

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill


The agreement reached by President Obama with Republican
leadership, including a two-year extension of tax cuts for the
wealthiest in return for a one-year extension of unemployment insurance
for families decimated by joblessness, is the wrong way to stimulate our

payroll tax holiday is particularly troubling for women, who rely more
on Social Security than men do. The "holiday" benefits higher income
people more than those in the middle or bottom, excludes retirees --
including those forced into early retirement due to joblessness -- and
excludes state and local government workers at a time when they are
facing a pay freeze. Worst of all, it slashes Social Security's
dedicated funding stream -- something Republican leaders and other
anti-New Deal forces have wanted to do for decades.

Social Security's dedicated funding stream threatens its long-term
integrity, and breaks faith with the workers who have paid into the
system so that it would be there for them when they are no longer

The White
House says the tax holiday will stimulate the economy, and Social
Security will get its lost revenue back from the federal budget. We
say: then why not use the federal budget to stimulate the economy in the
first place? Proposals exist that would do just that. For example, it
would be simple to double the Making Work Pay program. Giving everyone
who earns at least $5,000 per year a benefit of $800 would be much more
progressive than the payroll tax holiday and would directly stimulate
the economy.

There is no need to strike at the heart of Social Security's integrity in the name of stimulus.

president's package also allows income inequality to continue growing,
and will result in more pressure to cut programs that employ and serve
women disproportionately, including education, health care, child care,
domestic violence prevention and other social programs.

urges the Senate, which is expected to vote on the president's proposal
on Saturday, to reject it. Instead, senators should pass a stimulus
package that targets relief to where it is needed most -- middle and
low-income families, not those earning $1 million, $2 million, or $5
million per year and more.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.