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PORTSIDELABOR  July 2011, Week 2

PORTSIDELABOR July 2011, Week 2

Subject:

Labor angered by Obama's willingness to cut Social Security in debt ceiling deal

From:

Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 19:45:25 -0400

Content-Type:

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text/plain (99 lines)

Labor angered by Obama's willingness to cut Social
Security in debt ceiling deal
By Kevin Bogardus
The Hill
July 10, 2011

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/170557-labor-angered-by-obamas-willingness-to-cut-social-security-

President Obama's apparent willingness to discuss
Social Security cuts in the debt-ceiling negotiations
with Congress has angered labor unions and could cause
them to withhold support for Democrats in the next
election.

Press reports say President Obama is considering a
proposal to change how Social Security payments are
calculated by chaining payments from the program to the
Consumer Price Index. That change would help bring down
the national debt but would likely reduce benefits for
retirees.


Unions are making it known that Social Security cuts
are unacceptable to them and say they will lobby
against any cuts to the popular entitlement program. "I
think this is a huge political mistake for Democrats,"
Chuck Loveless, legislative director for the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
(AFSCME), told The Hill.

"There is no question that the senior vote moved
heavily towards Republicans last election. Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid are bedrock issues to
the Democratic base, and to the extent that there are
significant cuts in these programs, Democrats will pay
a political price."

Loveless said several of the cuts and tax breaks under
discussion in the debt ceiling talks trouble AFSCME.

The union lobbyist pointed to one measure that would
extend the payroll tax cut in place for employees to
employers as well. The tax is used to finance the trust
fund that pays Social Security benefits.

"We view that as raiding the Social Security trust
fund. Once you put these tax cuts into place, they are
very hard to get rid of," Loveless said.

The public sector union is not the only labor group
concerned about cuts to entitlements.

On Friday, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service
Employees International Union, said her union would not
accept cuts to Social Security.

"As the negotiations continue, Congress should also
take cuts to Social Security off the table. Social
Security has not added one penny to our deficit and
should not be targeted as a means toward reaching a
deal," Henry said in a statement.

That followed a similar statement Thursday from AFL-CIO
President Richard Trumka.

"At a time when retirement security remains an elusive
goal for most Americans, cuts to Social Security
benefits -- in whatever form they take -- should not be
on the table," Trumka said. "The AFL-CIO continues to
oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicare or
Medicaid benefits, including any cuts in cost of living
adjustments. The best solution to our deficit problem
is to create good jobs that will rebuild our economy.
That should be our first priority."

Discussion of Social Security cuts is the latest
chapter in what at times has been a frayed relationship
between the White House and labor.

(For the full article, go to 
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/170557-labor-angered-by-obamas-willingness-to-cut-social-security-)

____________________________________________

PortsideLabor aims to provide material of interest to
people on the left that will help them to interpret the
world and to change it.

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