WASHINGTON Dec. 9, 2010 – California Rep. Barbara Lee, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has released the following statement after the Democratic Caucus meeting with Vice President Joe Biden:
“During the meeting, I informed Vice President Biden that the overwhelming majority of Congressional Black Caucus members are opposed to the current tax plan. We will have a specific proposal we would like to discuss with the administration. Congressman Bobby Scott and our taskforce are putting this together.
“We are opposed to the estate tax provision and extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus support extending unemployment benefits and provisions to create jobs, and we want to support something responsible.
“We understand there are tough choices that will need to be made next year and are extremely concerned that the cuts that could be made should this package pass will disproportionately hurt the poor and low-income communities, and may further erode the safety net.”
I Have to Say Something about Obama,
the Tax Cuts,
and the Federal Pay Freeze
The African World
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board
I am sorry, folks. I just have to get my two cents in on President Obama’s proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and freeze the pay of federal workers. I will make this brief.
During the campaign, one of the things that I and a number of other commentators warned about was the sense that we had from then Senator Obama that struggle was not a watch-word. In fact, the then Senator seemed to avoid that as best he could. He wanted us to embrace Martin Luther King’s vision of the need for a non-racial and just United States without acknowledging the extent to which the struggle continued.
Since his election we have seen a combination of some bold ideas and rhetoric matched with a consistent pattern of premature compromising. There have been psychological explanations offered for this but I think that they mainly miss the point. There is, however, a psychological aspect that we must acknowledge.
First, President Obama, as we warned, saw himself primarily reforming the image of the USA rather than the substance. The masses that supported him, however, were looking for substantive change. They were far from united on the character of that change, but they were looking for a champion to advance that. Whether Obama intended on making substantive change is beside the point. What he clearly decided, evident immediately after the election and during the transition period, was to seek to stabilize neo-liberal capitalism and focus on assuring the markets and investors that he was reliable. His appointments have almost all been in that direction.
Here’s one big reason congressional Republicans and the deficit hawks are dead wrong about cutting Social Security benefits: According to a new study, nearly half (47.4 percent) of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 90 will experience at least one year of poverty or near poverty and seniors of color are twice as likely to be affected.
The study by Mark Rank, a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, shows that 58 percent of seniors between 60 and 84 will, at some point, not have enough liquid assets to allow them to weather an unanticipated expense or downturn in income.
But if you are a senior who is black or unmarried or have less than a high school education, the likelihood that you will be poor at some point increases dramatically. Rank found that although 32.7 percent of white older Americans will experience at least one year below the official poverty line, the percentage for black older Americans was nearly double at 64.6 percent.