WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – Representing the suffering of Americans either out of work, underemployed, too disenfranchised to even look, of just feeling the pain of the economic times, a Citizen’s Commission created its own report and recommendations on what the government should do about “Jobs, Deficits and America’s Economic Future.”
The report is widely different from the White House’s debt commission report, which recommends raising the age for Social Security and reducing Medicare benefits.
Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change told the media,“Millions of Americans are without any income struggling to feed and shelter their families, but Republicans continue to be more concerned about protecting their wealthy friends on Wall Street who finance their campaigns without any concern for how it might increase the deficit.”
“The deficit only becomes a concern when the conversation shifts to extending critical lifelines for working families. This is a moral disgrace and a national travesty.”
The Citizens Commission is led by a 23-member group that includes economists, labor and grassroots organization leaders, and academic experts like Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennet College, Justin Ruben of MoveOn, Sen. Don Riegle, former U.S.Senator from Michigan and Charles Rodgers of the New Community Fund.
They believe the White House deficit commission proposals are “fundamentally misguided” and will take the economic debate in the dangerous direction of austerity.
“More than 64 percent of Americans believe tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent should expire. So do leading economists, and now millionaires themselves are speaking out against the Republicans,” said Mr. Bhargava.
“We urge the leaders in Congress to hold steadfast and allow the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to expire, extend desperately needed unemployment benefits and continue fighting for legislation that helps the majority of Americans and our economy recover and come out of this recession stronger.”
Noting that the average Social Security benefit is about $14,000 a year, Mr. Bhargava said, “It is morally unacceptable to reduce benefits to middle-income and low-income people, or to raise the retirement age, as Bowles-Simpson would do.”
Angela Glover Blackwell, the director of the PolicyLink think tank, said that poor- and middle-class families, particularly Black and Latino families, have already been harmed too severely by the recession and the decade of economic stagnation that preceded it.
“We can’t slash our way to prosperity. We must grow the nation out of this crisis,” she said.
The Bryson family wonders how the White House plan will affect them. They’re about to lose their home, James Bryson has just started a new job after 18 months of unemployment and they have two sons in college.
“It just looks like the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer,” he told The Final Call. “What about us struggling Americans? What about us at the bottom of the barrel? I’m a taxpaying citizen. What is the government going to do for us?”
The commission plans a nationwide campaign to oppose the “job-killing, middle class-devastating, austerity measures,” proposed by Republicans, the White House deficit commission, and some Democrats.
“These recommendations again prove Beltway Insiders wrong–we don’t have to force working people to pay the price for the failed economic policies of the past. The most effective way to regain our economic security and cut the deficit is by putting Americans back to work and restoring fairness to our economy,” said Mary Kay Henry, a citizens’ commission member and president of the Service Employees International Union.