House “Gang of 70-Plus” to Senate “Gang of Six”: We Outnumber Your Plan to Slash Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security


July 19, 2011

Press Contact: Adam Sarvana (202) 225-2435

(202) 573-2562 cell


House “Gang of 70-Plus” to Senate “Gang of Six”: We Outnumber Your Plan to Slash Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security


Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on the Senate “Gang of Six” budget proposal:


“This terrible plan could cut Medicare and Medicaid to unsustainably low levels and put seniors’ well-being at risk. Anyone who wants to pass it through Congress should remember that more than 70 House Democrats have already pledged their opposition, and more are signing on every day. The letter we sent to Leader Pelosi July 8 vowing to oppose any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid as part of these budget negotiations has become a growing wave of House resolve to protect these programs. We’re keeping it open for more signatures, and our Gang of 70-plus has the ‘Gang of Six’ completely outnumbered. Newly minted Rep. Janice Hahn signed on as one of her first official acts as a Congresswoman – that’s how quickly it’s picking up momentum.


Republicans have already said they won’t vote for any package, period, because of their opposition to a functional economy. House Democrats hold the key to whatever plan can pass Congress. That’s why the Senate ‘Gang of Six’ proposal is dead on arrival. Instead of toying with ways to slash vital programs in just such a way as to make different budget numbers align on paper, Congress and the White House should follow the path of our People’s Budget: creating jobs, protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, ending corporate subsidies and millionaire tax giveaways, and ensuring our economy works for everyone rather than a greedy few.”


Statement on “Gang of Six” Deficit Reduction Plan


Statement on Gang of Six Plan

Tax cuts for the wealthy, and Social Security cuts for ordinary workers

For Immediate Release: July 19, 2011
Contact: Alan Barber 202-293-5380 x115

Washington, D.C.–  Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research  (CEPR), issued the following statement on the Gang of Six deficit plan:

“The  budget plan produced by the Senate’s “Gang of Six” offers the promise  of huge tax breaks for some of the wealthiest people in the country,  while lowering Social Security benefits for retirees and the disabled.   Despite claiming that they will “reform” Social Security on a “separate  track, isolated from deficit reduction,” the plan includes cuts to  Social Security that would be felt in less than six months, as the plan  calls for a new inflation formula that will reduce benefits by 0.3  percentage points a year compared with currently scheduled benefits. The  plan also calls for a process that is likely to reduce benefits further  for future retirees.

“The proposed cuts to Social Security  are cumulative. This means that after ten years, a beneficiary in her  70s will see a cut of close to 3 percent. After 20 years, the cuts for  beneficiaries in their 80s will be close to 6 percent, while the  reduction in annual benefits will be close to 9 percent by the time  beneficiaries are in their 90s. For a beneficiary in her 90s living on a  Social Security income of $15,000, this means a loss of more $1,200 a  year in benefits.

  “The plan also calls for large cuts in tax  rates including a targeted top rate of between 23-29 percent, which will  be at least partially offset by elimination of tax deductions. For the  highest-income people, this is likely to mean a very large reduction in  taxes. For example, Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, the CEOs of J.P.  Morgan and Goldman Sachs, respectively, are both paid close to $20  million a year at present. If this pay is taxed as ordinary income, then  they would be paying close to $7.5 million a year in taxes on it after  2012. However, if the top rate is set at 29 percent, they may save as  much as $1.9 million a year on their tax bill. If the top tax rate is  set at 23 percent then the Gang of Six plan may increase their after-tax  income by more than $3 million a year.

  “It is striking that the  Gang of Six chose to respond to the crisis created by the collapse of  the housing bubble by developing a plan that will give even more money  to top Wall Street executives and traders. By contrast, the European  Union is considering imposing financial speculation taxes to reduce the  power of the financial industry and raise more than $40 billion a year  in revenue.

  “The plan calls for substantial cuts elsewhere in the  budget which are likely to cut into the incomes of large segments of  the population, especially the sick and the elderly. The cuts it  proposes to the military are just over 1.0 percent of projected spending  over the next decade.

  “In short, this is a plan that should be  expected to please the wealthy since it will mean large reductions in  their tax liability in the decades ahead. On the other hand, most of the  rest of the country is likely to feel the effects of lower Social  Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, in addition to other cuts that  are not yet fully specified.”


Why ‘Middle Class’ Drives Me Bonkers

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

Here’s a perfectly decent chart showing how the value created by increasingly productive Pennsylvania workers ‘trickles up’ to the top. Fine, then comes the claim that the ‘middle class’ is shrinking because workers aren’t getting a fair share.

What drives me nuts is that the same people are called ‘middle class’ and, indirectly, also ‘working class.’  Why do we need to be in two classes? The first is entirely arbitrary and, as the chart shows, only has to do with income levels. The second is about your relation to production, and not owning any means of production, ‘be your payment high or low’ (Marx).

Here’s the rub. The use of ‘middle class’ can be heard to be dismissive of those workers in greatest need. We need unity between both groups, those in greatest need and those more recently pushed down. ‘Working class’ is a fine inclusive term for that. Let’s brush aside the disdain from those who think themselves our ‘betters’ and take more pride in who we are.

Bob Dylan, for goodness sake, even uses the word ‘proletariat’ in his last album, another fine Latin word for ‘people of no property.’ But I’ll settle for ‘working class’ for now.