Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Budget Deal: Shared Sacrifice and Compromise?

The long-term unemployed, military retirees and federal workers made a "shared sacrifice" and faced the "tough decisions" in the newly proposed budget deal with a Congressional "compromise".

So did airline travelers and hospitals take a hit --- but no one else. Members of Congress still get paid $174,000 a year with all their beenies intact.

The Budget Deal includes "sequestration relief" that would supposedly be split 50/50 between defense programs and domestic programs.

The Budget Deal will get the bulk of its "deficit savings" from new cuts to Medicare providers. A trade group for publicly-traded hospitals slammed the deal, saying it "jeopardized seniors' access to care".

The Budget Deal also hikes airline travel fees.

Military retirees and Veterans will see their benefits cut. The Budget Deal requires both federal workers and military personnel to contribute a greater portion of their paychecks to their pension funds (among "other" provisions) --- to possibly be later stolen or further reduced --- like the city and state workers, as well as those belonging to labor unions.

A group of Republican senators had earlier introduced a bill to slash retirement pensions for new federal employees, saying "the current system unfairly compensates public-sector workers as compared to their private-sector counterparts."

But guess what's happening to their private-sector counterparts? Hundreds of thousands of retired union workers are also facing pension cuts that could slash their monthly payments in half , or even more. The proposed cuts are part of a desperate effort to head off insolvency at some of the nation's biggest pension plans.

And let's not forget Detroit's public worker's pensions, as California could be next.

The Budget Deal did not include an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, affecting an estimated 1.3 million jobless Americans immediately, and over another million early next year.

American Psychological Association - "The current state of the economy continues to be an enormous stressor for Americans, with 78 percent reporting money as a significant source of stress. Unemployed workers are twice as likely as their employed counterparts to experience psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, low subjective well-being and poor self-esteem. Unemployment not only affects those who lose their jobs. Coworkers who are still employed may experience a heavier work load and suffer from anxiety that they too will soon be unemployed."

"When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Fox News.

The Budget Deal DID NOT INCLUDE eliminating any tax loopholes for big corporations or the super-wealthy. This, my friends, is what the top 0.01% and the Republicans call a "shared sacrifice" and what the Democrats call a "compromise".

There was no mention (as of yet) about chained-CPI for seniors and Vets, reducing their cost-of-living adjustments. A group of Brookings scholars proposed Five Good Ideas for a Budget Deal. Elaine Kamarck, senior fellow and director of the Center for Effective Public Management, says "progressive price indexing" is a fair alternative to chained CPI proposals for Social Security reform. But the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said "progressive price indexing" would also significantly cut benefits for many recipients.

So much for "shared sacrifice" and "compromise".

Let's all wish the Congressional Scrooges a very merry, merry Christmas!

First they came...

1 comment:

  1. ///

    Sign the petition that says "No to the Scrooge Budget!"