Early Thursday morning, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laid out the Democrats’ plan to simultaneously work towards deficit reduction and promote job growth. With just 54,000 jobs created in May, America’s jobs agenda has a long way to go in recouping all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. When people get back to work and pay taxes however, bleak deficit forecasts will improve, boosted by a broadening tax base from a growing workforce. Senator Schumer believes that Democrats can set a course which makes deficit reduction and job creation complimentary, not mutually exclusive, goals.
Senator Schumer also stated that Democrats are currently seeking a three-pronged approach to any deficit reduction deal, including:
- No cuts to Medicare beneficiaries
- Deficit reduction that must be balanced and shared sacrifice that must be made
- Not ignoring the need to create jobs.
While Senator Schumer stated that Democrats are looking for savings in the Medicare delivery system, he also clearly stated that cuts that hurt beneficiaries should not be tolerated.
Senator Schumer reaffirmed Democrats’ commitment to finding savings in the defense budget as well, which he said may take some pressure off discretionary program cuts and could generate support from colleagues on the far right looking for reductions in defense spending.
Senator Schumer did not hold back on his belief that congressional Republicans are opposing programs they have historically supported (such as payroll tax breaks to encourage job growth) in order to slow down the economy for their benefit in the 2012 elections. It is sad to imagine politicians being so evil as to depress wages and prevent job creations for millions of American people, but in this time of intense partisan politics, in no way unfathomable.
It is a moral imperative at this important point in the deficit and debt debate that all advocates, beneficiaries and people who care about human needs programs continue to push the administration and Congress for increased revenues so the burden of deficit reduction is not placed on the shoulders of people living in poverty through cuts to important safety-net programs. Call the White House and your members of Congress to let them know that any deficit reduction agreement must include a plan to get people back to work. The deficit clearly cannot be solved by cuts to human needs programs alone, particularly with such persistently high unemployment rates. Our elected officials must find ways to both increase revenue and direct that vital revenue to investment in jobs programs. It will be all of our jobs to ensure that the administration and Congress follow through on these vital priorities.