For Immediate Release
Josh Goldstein (202) 637-5018
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On Federal Budget Choices
WASHINGTON - Working people expect our elected leaders to put creating jobs first. Yet since Republicans took power in this Congress, they have done just the opposite. They have passed one bill after another that kills jobs, and they have pursued an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with helping the rich get richer and dismantling the safety net. Now they are playing political games to force a shutdown of the federal government that will cost even more jobs.
What does the Republican leadership in Congress really want? Well, this week they showed their cards. They want a massive cut in tax rates for the wealthy and for Wall Street, and they want the middle class and the poor to pay for it in various ways, including higher health care costs and hidden tax increases.
We've seen this before—both in Washington and in the states. In fact, it's how we got into this mess. The Republican leadership seems to be hoping that, in the chaos and confusion of a government shutdown, they can bully Democrats into a "Grand Bargain" that gives them most of what they want. But if we keep going down this road of making the rich richer and the middle class poorer, we're going to have another economic crisis like the one in 2008 that blew a hole in federal and state budgets and left 25 million people still needing a job.
Working people expect our elected leaders to fight for the middle class and against government of, by, and for the rich, and not to be bullied by the protectors of the privileged and the powerful. It is morally obscene to dismantle programs critical to the economic security of the middle class and the poor while proposing eviscerating budget cuts that cost jobs for working people without asking the wealthiest Americans and Wall Street to pay more.
"Shared sacrifice" should start at the top, not the bottom. The labor movement will oppose tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy and oppose cuts to Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits, or Medicaid—no matter who proposes them.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.