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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Blog: The GOP's in the House ... It's Gonna Be a Cold Winter

This is a guest blog by Terry Schlederthe staff for the NM Alliance for Retired Americans and a longtime social & health justice advocate in NM. He holds a Masters degree in Public Health from UNM and has Labor in his blood and bones.

President Obama will be hearing from his Fiscal Commission soon about how to bring our national debt under control, and an early report by the co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, may give us a clue about what we’re up against. Full-throttle class warfare may be coming our way in December, a war that pits the tax-breaks for billionaires against shrinking Social Security checks for seniors or disabled workers. This and other ugly economic show-downs are being tee’d-up as 2010 exits, and we’d best be paying attention or we’ll surely lose our shirts.

If 14 of the 18 Commissioners agree on recommendations, they’ll send them to President Obama on Dec 1. In prep for the worst-case scenario in our new Tea Party’d Congress, the Alliance for Retired Americans has been ramping up its educational and legislative campaign to mobilize workers, pre-retirees & seniors to press Congress to do the right thing. Will your union join us in NM? Even if you’re not thinking about retirement yet, you should be, because cuts to Social Security now will hurt you later, when you can least afford them.

Seems we’re in a new era of Congressional anti-tax hysteria and budget deficit fetishism that is trumping common sense, but it’s really just a thinly veiled attack on workers and the Middle Class. This Commission should be concerned about getting back to genuine progressive tax policies - like ending Corporate & Gazillionairre Welfare - to change our current march toward a new Gilded Age, but the Chairs seem instead obsessed with severe spending cuts over moderate tax raises. Indeed, roughly 70% of the Co-Chair’s report was for spending cuts while only 30% was about revenue increases. 

Will the President and Congress choose to fight for a strong Middle Class if they get a Committee recommendation that places profit over people in the name of a balanced budget? And will they fight for workers now by extending our unemployment insurance, or by putting folks to work on our crumbling public infrastructure, for example? Will our lawmakers focus on our growing income inequality or will they continue to shamelessly ignore our real financial and moral crises… and scapegoat Social Security, Medicare and our new Health Reform law, instead? 

These questions and more demand our attention and solidarity as 2010 draws to a close. Here’s a list of things you, your organization and union can do now for a stronger Middle Class in New Mexico:

  • Hook up with your NM Alliance to get the facts about the budget’s impact on workers and retirees. Affiliate with us at the statewide level so we can keep organizing for economic & health security for working and aging families. If you’re not there yet, you will be soon;
  • Join our growing NM Alliance email listerve. Send us your email addy and stay informed on the latest actions, events and policy facts;

  • Call your U.S. Rep. and thank them for signing a pledge to protect Social Security and fight any retirement age-increases or privatization (The NM Alliance secured all 3 of our US Reps.’ commitment to this pledge last month!);

  • Call both of our U.S. senators and ask them to cut Corporate Welfare, tax the superrich, and stay strong on no cuts, retirement age-increases, or privatization of Social Security. Remind them that our new Health Reform Law cuts the deficit by controlling health care costs, so they must stand strong on it. (With a “Public Option,” we’d be saving even more. So why did the “fiscal conservatives” boot that out??);

A balanced U.S. budget doesn’t take rocket science … it takes political courage and a promise to do the right thing for working Americans, once and for all.

Hey President Obama & Congress! Remember this when you get confused about who caused our budget problems: It’s not Social Security, It’s the tax- breaks- for-Billionaires, Stupid!

This is a guest blog by Terry Schleder. This article was published first in the NM Federation of Labor’s Newsletter, November, 2010.

If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

November 16, 2010 at 02:09 PM in 2010 General Election, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Right Wing, Senior Citizens, Taxes | Permalink


Our organization,NMAFTretirees,was privileged to have Terry Schleder of NM Alliance for Retired Americans and LeRoy R. Aragon of National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare give a presentation on Preserving Social Security on 10/27/10 in Gallup NM. We must take action in calling and writing our senators and congressmen to let them know that we do not want Social Security to be used to finance the national debt.
Social Security is not an entitlement program. All funds are generated by the employers and employees paying into the fund. The interest is earned through investment in U.S. Treasury Bonds.
Social Security does not add to the deficit and the U.S. government has no right to take any portion of it.
Please take action for all workers and their families invested in Social Security.

Posted by: Janis Martinez | Nov 16, 2010 5:00:36 PM

I hope that Harry Teague will be a strong vote in favor of working Americans in his remaining time in this Congress. His district is mostly working folks, they deserve a strong voice now in favor of protecting Social Security and a sane tax policy.

Posted by: Jim Hannan | Nov 17, 2010 9:15:50 AM

Don't you just love it when communist democrats claim they champion the middleclass? What? wasn't the poor folks votes enough to give you power so now you gotta make the middleclass join the poor and downtrodden so you commies can OWN them too? Just another SCAM !!!!!

Posted by: chiknthief | Nov 17, 2010 10:23:07 AM

We don't want anymore help from democrats. They've already KILLED all the jobs, spent all the social security money and bankrupted the country. Now they want us all on welfare and foodstamps (social justice-the communists say) They don't even have money for that. Stealin chikns is a lot better way to live than the leftist democrat BS !!!

Posted by: chiknthief | Nov 17, 2010 10:30:48 AM

I thought about removing the two comments above but I think they should stand as a testament to how ignorant and mean spirited too many on the right have become. I think comments like these are very telling in demonstrating just how disconnected from reality, history and facts right wingers have become under the constant barrage of Fox News and talk radio hate speech and outright lies.

Posted by: barb | Nov 17, 2010 6:14:46 PM

Commenter "chiknthief" seems to be an excellent example of the willful ignorance that Corporate America's Useful Idiots aka GOP and their followers are so proud to put on display.

Posted by: VP | Nov 21, 2010 7:56:56 AM