National Committee grassroots activists were on Capitol Hill today to deliver 2 million signatures to the Senate urging Congress to reject ongoing efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) received the petitions and vowed to continue leading the fight to protect these vital programs.
The timing for today’s impressive show of grassroots action couldn’t have been better because according the The Hill newspaper, some in the Senate are looking at crafting yet another attack on middle-class benefits known as the so-called “Grand Bargain”.
You’ll probably remember that this flawed fiscal plan was first offered by chairmen of the failed fiscal commission, Erskin Bowles and Alan Simpson, who had to issue their own report after they couldn’t get enough support by their own Commission. They took their Bowles/Simpson report (BS for short) on the road, backed by the billion dollar Wall Street anti-“entitlement” lobby, hoping to sell the idea that cutting middle class earned benefits and raising middle class taxes while also lowering taxes (even more) for the richest Americans was the path to fiscal sanity. No one was buying it then but that was before the GOP took control of the Senate.
Now, it appears corporatists of both parties in Senate hope to revive the BS “grand bargain”.
“He (Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said he was willing to close “loopholes” in the tax code if Democrats were willing to make concessions on entitlements. That’s the ideological problem for some Republicans, but not for me. I would generate some revenue by capping deductions in the tax code if Democrats help me make some small entitlement changes that buy it back…a mini Simpson-Bowles,’ he said.”
We’ve already seen this “let’s make a deal” gamesmanship many times before. The problem is those “loopholes” Republicans are willing to close are the tax breaks that impact average Americans like the mortgage interest deduction and targeting retirement savings and health insurance. They’re not interested in going after the trillions lost to corporations sending jobs overseas or gaming the system to avoid taxes entirely or lifting the payroll tax cap or instituting a financial transactions tax.
You can see why this plan is truly a “grand bargain” for America’s billionaires, the Business Roundtable and their supporters in Congress. It’s just a raw deal for everyone else.