Feb 28, 2013
The AFL-CIO Executive Council is calling on Congress to repeal the looming, economically destructive budget cuts known as sequestration. Unless lawmakers act, $85 billion in automatic cuts will devastate Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other vital programs on Friday.
In a statement at its winter meeting, the council said:
The solution is to disarm the hostage-takers so they no longer can hold the economy hostage to get their way. Disarming the hostage-takers means repealing "sequestration" — not replacing it. Across-the-board cuts would increase unemployment and harm the economy, but so would replacement cuts of the same size.
There is no economic need to replace "sequestration" or meet any arbitrary deficit reduction target. Further fiscal austerity before the United States returns to full employment only would weaken the economy and cost jobs. If the "sequester" is to be replaced, it should be replaced in a way that minimizes drag on the economy — which is by raising additional revenues from the wealthiest households and corporations. Since January 2011, 70 percent of deficit reduction has been through discretionary spending cuts, which is an important reason why the recovery has been so sluggish. Under no circumstances should the "sequester" be replaced by furloughs for federal employees, who already have sacrificed $103 billion to reduce the deficit.
Earlier this week, in an interview on The Ed Schultz Show, CWA President Larry Cohen said, "It is going to take mobilization by of all of us working Americans, whether we're union or not, to say, 'We're fed up with this!'"