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Dear Congress – Stop This Manufactured Crisis

Forty-one organizations, representing millions of Americans, have signed this letter to Congress, asking them to stand against those who would “hold our economy hostage in order to dictate the terms of the debate.” See the list of signers below.

Please read this letter and circulate it widely. We at the Campaign for America’s Future are proud to have played a leadership role in helping to write the letter. And thank the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and all the other groups who worked to forge a consensus on the statement and helped to get the attention of Congress in this important moment.

Principles for Debate on the Budget and the Economy

September 26, 2010

Dear Member of Congress:

As we head into another series of manufactured budget crises, the 41 undersigned organizations stand against those who want to hold our economy hostage in order to dictate the terms of debate. We urge you to:

End Job-Killing Sequestration Cuts

The greatest challenge facing our economy today is the continuing jobs crisis, not the deficit. Over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. Meanwhile, the annual deficit has been cut by more than half since 2009 as a portion of the economy, and is now falling faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II.

The across-the-board budget cuts – called “sequestration” – that began in March of this year are making the jobs crisis worse and holding back economic growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office, simply repealing sequestration would generate 900,000 jobs. We call on Congress to end the sequester – period – and not replace it with other harmful cuts.

We reject threats by some extremists to shut down the government or cause a government default unless their ransom demands are met – including their demand to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congress should lift the debt ceiling without conditions because the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is not – and should not be – negotiable.

Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security

We urge you to oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits, including the shifting of health care costs to beneficiaries. We should be improving Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare by expanding benefits, not cutting them, because working people need more economic security, not less.

Defend Core Programs for Those Most At Risk

Congress should defend the core security programs for those most at risk in this economy, such as impoverished women and children, the elderly, or the long-term unemployed. The savage cuts proposed for food stamps (SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Program) are unconscionable. Cuts now projected in education, housing, home heating, Head Start, infant nutrition and other programs vital to low-income families should be reversed.

Eliminate All Tax Incentives for Sending Jobs Overseas

Powerful corporations and the rich should pay their fair share of taxes. As a start, we call on Congress to eliminate all tax incentives that encourage companies to ship jobs abroad. Ending these tax subsidies would – by itself – increase investment and employment in the U.S. At the same time, it would generate hundreds of billions in revenue which could help rebuild our economy without increasing the deficit. This money could be used to launch a five-year plan to rebuild our outmoded infrastructure; to help ensure that the U.S. captures the lead in a green industrial revolution that is already generating growing numbers of good jobs; and to invest in education, from preschool to affordable college, to prepare our children to succeed in the 21st century. Congress should combine this with raising the minimum wage and reviving the right to organize to counter the extreme inequality so debilitating to our economy.

Sincerely,

AFL-CIO

AIDS United

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

American Federation of Teachers

Campaign for America’s Future

Caring Across Generations

Center for Community Change

Center for Effective Government

Coalition on Human Needs

Communications Workers of America

Community Action Partnership

Council for Opportunity in Education

CourageCampaign.org

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Fair Share

Gamaliel

Green For All

Health Care for America Now

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work

Leadership Center for the Common Good

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

MoveOn.org Civic Action

NAACP

National Coalition for the Homeless

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Employment Law Project

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Immigration Law Center

National People’s Action

National Women’s Law Center

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Partnership for Working Families

PolicyLink

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Social Security Works

United Steelworkers (USW)

USAction

Wider Opportunities for Women

Working America


Roger Hickey

Roger Hickey is Co-Director of the Campaign for America’s Future. He was a leader of the campaign to stop the privatization of Social Security, and he is a founder and member of the steering committee of Health Care for America Now. In the late 1980s he and Jeff Faux created the Economic Policy Institute.

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