Balancing the Budget from the Middle Out

By: April Ryan, aprildryan.com

President Barack Obama is back campaigning   This time he is trying to sell Americans his plan to fix the debt crisis before the end of the year to avert a fatal monetary fall off the fiscal cliff.  This week the President further promoted a plan to work from the middle out. He spoke with Middle Income Americans and corporate leaders in efforts to persuade Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts.

Dr. Martha Joynt Kumar, Political Science Professor at Towson University finds, “He [President Obama] is bringing in a series of small and big business people, labor people, civic groups all to put some pressure on Congress, all stating what they want in the fiscal cliff negotiations. He is using all those people as voices in favor of his approach, his balanced approach Jay Carney has been talking about.”

The White House Economic team, to the President, to others at the Executive Mansion podium, contends the tax cuts have saved middle income families about $2,200 annually.  If the package is not passed by the end of the year, starting January 1, 2013 taxes will go up immediately for those same family’s making under 250 thousand dollars a year.

The President has calculated the Middle Class Tax Cut savings as a needed injection into the economy.  The thought is, the money saved will be used to make purchases.  Roderick Harrision of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies says “70 percent” of the economy is made up of retail sales in this nation.

Friday, President Obama will discuss these aspects and more as he travels to the blue state of Pennsylvania to push his plan.  The White House expects the nation to hear the importance of his proposals. Congressman Elijah Cummings, a close friend to President Obama,  spoke with the President Tuesday.  Cummings says  the President made a comment that he is committed to fixing this problem during this lame duck session of Congress where there is no set date for an end of the congressional session.   Cummings revealed the President said “don’t pack your bags.”   The President wants to stay and work out the issue before everyone goes home for the holiday. On the issue of a budget deal before Christmas, Congressman Cummings says, “A bad deal is worse than no deal. We may have to go into 2013 to get the Republicans to then act and act properly.” Listen: 

 

From one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, the President and lawmakers are working on ways to hammer out a deal.  Social Security is now said to be off the table to help balance the budget.   There are some advocates for the nations low income Americans who are happy with that move and hope Medicare and Medicaid will be subtracted from the equation to balance the budget. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings says, “We are facing a retirement catastrophe  And, to the extent that anyone gets away with cutting any benefits like Social Security and Medicare that are meant to help people be more secure in retirement, we will be facing devastation down the road.”

The White House is putting more pressure on Congress meeting to act by Christmas to pass a bill that cuts 4 trillion dollars in spending over 4 years and increases revenue over 1 trillion in ten years.  Maya Rockeymoore, Chair of the Board for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, says the White House has taken Social Security off the table for consideration to balance the federal budget and hopes Medicare and Medicaid will be taken off the table too. Rockeymoore warns people following the budget process to be on the lookout for  “policy triggers” she feels “are a direct assault on the retirement security of people of color, women, and other low income populations.”

According to Rockeymoore “Anytime you hear a policymaker say raise the retirement age, whether it is for Medicare or Social Security, that should be a red flag to African Americans,  it should be a red flag for low income populations.  Anytime you hear we want to change the Cost of Living Adjustment, that is a red flag for all women regardless of color.  Because women tend to live longer than men, they need that annual cost of living adjustment to help their social security dollars keep pace with the cost of inflation so that when they go the store they can actually afford a more expensive loaf of bread.” Listen: 

President Obama says he will not sign a bill that will give tax cuts to those making over 250 thousand dollars annually.


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