As lawmakers negotiate the next deal in the face of the next cliff — “sequester” spending cuts to investments in our home front like education — we must push for more revenue and cuts to waste. Here’s a messaging framework for what to cut — waste like corporate tax loopholes and outdated Pentagon pork — and what to keep, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which Americans need to know will be on the chopping block.
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Cut what we don’t need so we can protect the things we do.
Connect: The choices our leaders make about the budget should reflect our priorities and our needs as a country.
State of play: After averting one cliff with a last-minute patch, we now face massive cuts to the things we need at home. Meanwhile, the tax code is still rigged in favor of the wealthy and corporations.
Define: We face a choice: cut what we don’t need like corporate tax loopholes, outdated Pentagon pork our military leaders don’t want, and wasteful subsidies for Big Oil and drug companies — or drag down our economy by cutting the things we do.
Give context: We’ve already cut almost $2 trillion from our schools, medical research, public safety, and Head Start — all taking money out of people’s pockets and customers out of stores.
Discredit: Make no mistake: some Washington politicians are putting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the chopping block, too — even though in tough times like these, we need to make them even stronger.
Offer solutions: Cut waste, not jobs. Cut the things we don’t need so we can keep investing in the things we do.
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
ATTACK: “Wasteful spending is our real problem.”
The problem is taxes and Washington’s unfinished business fixing our rigged tax code. It’s still riddled with special loopholes for the wealthiest few and big corporations that get away with paying no taxes.
Cut waste, not jobs. If you want to cut, cut the waste like corporate tax loopholes and outdated Pentagon pork that our military leaders don’t want, so we can protect the things we need to keep our country working — like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, schools, cops, bridges.
When Washington Republicans push for spending cuts, they’re talking about cutting your Social Security and laying off your kids’ teachers — so corporations and the wealthy get more tax cuts.
The best way to fix the deficit is to put Americans back to work — and Republicans have no credibility on either. Not only does the GOP keep pushing to lay off millions of Americans, their own budget would add more debt than we’ve ever seen in a 10-year period in American history.
ATTACK: “We got taxes done, so we need to cut spending next.”
Actually, we need to finish the work on taxes. The tax code is still rigged in favor of the wealthy at our expense — and corporations and their loopholes got off scot-free. Clearly there is plenty left to do on taxes!
And if you’re looking for massive spending cuts to the things we need at home, we already did that. Congress already passed nearly $2 trillion in spending cuts in one bill alone — hitting our home front investments like our schools, public safety, and scientific research.
So if you want to cut, cut the waste like corporate tax loopholes and outdated Pentagon pork that our military leaders don’t want, so we can protect the things we need to keep our country working and keep us from going back into recession.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
There’s so much fat in the massive Pentagon budget — including spending on outdated pork that our military leaders don’t want and contracting waste — that military and national security experts are urging strategic CUTS of $500 billion, if not up to a $1 trillion, that will reshape the Pentagon budget to focus on 21st century threats.
The Pentagon has so much money that it even ended FY12 with $100 billion in unused funding sitting in its bank accounts waiting to be spent.
The U.S. defense budget is more than the next 17 highest spending countries’ combined.
If the scheduled Pentagon spending drawdowns go through, the Pentagon budget would merely return to 2007 levels — when we were still paying for two major wars.
HOME FRONT FUNDING
Under the last minute patch to the previous fiscal cliff, the indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts from the “sequester” were delayed, so that in two months they start to kick in — slashing our home front funding in our schools, cops, bridges, and medical research.
This next cliff and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday, along with additional changes in the tax code, might knock as much as 1.5% off economic growth this year. (Last year, GDP was 1.3% in the 2nd Quarter and 3.1% in the 3rd Quarter.)
The next cliff will throw more Americans out of work, risking recession and threatening the basic things that keep our country running: nearly 25,000 Americans working in homeland security; 2,200 air traffic controllers and staff; 7,000 protecting the borders; and 7,500 in the Justice Department.
The cliff also means harsh consequences for our home front priorities, as it would —
Cut the Social Security Administration’s resources by nearly $900 million in one year alone — creating hassles and delays for seniors and costing taxpayers $500 million in waste, fraud, and abuse that could’ve been prevented.
Cut funding for medical discoveries, eliminating nearly 3,000 research grants to universities and medical centers.
Kick nearly 100,000 children off Head Start.
Cut education by more than $4 billion. For example, three education programs that together serve over 30 million kids would be cut by $2.7 billion.
Take away job training and employment services from 1.6 million Americans and help making child care more affordable for 80,000 families.
Take cancer screenings away from 50,000 women and vaccinations from over 200,000 kids, and cut community health centers so that they serve 1 million fewer patients.
Cut funding for investigations and prosecutions of terrorism, drug gangs, human trafficking, and violent crime.