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Green Party to Obama: No ‘Grand Bargain’ cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Needed

Green party anti-war poster

Green party anti-war poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

• Green solution for the deficit: Reduce the bloated military budget, end the wars, eliminate Bush’s tax cuts for the rich

Green Party leaders called on President Obama to resist any kind of ‘Grand Bargain’ with Republicans in Congress that involves cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, or other safety-net programs.

The President has signaled that he is ready to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and by $650 billion and raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security in a deal with the GOP in order to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’.

“Americans need more protection during a recession instead of less protection. Democrats in the 1930s understood this and passed the Social Security Act in 1937 during the Depression,” said Starlene Rankin, co-chair of the Green Party’s Lavender Caucus.

“Instead of carving up these programs, President Obama should reduce or eliminate the things that caused the deficit — the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, the bloated military budget, and borrowing to pay for the wars of the last decade. He should let the tax cuts expire, bring the troops home from the wars, and cut military spending. President Obama is already willing to end Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. He should announce that Wall Street caused the economic crisis, therefore Wall Street should suffer ‘austerity’ instead of working and poor Americans,” said Ms. Rankin. 

Greens said that cuts to these programs would force Americans to invest more of their retirement money in the high-risk Wall Street casino. Raising the eligibility age would mean “work till you die” for many Americans, especially low-income working people, the poor, Blacks, and others with statistically lower life expectancies.

The FY 2012 military budget is likely to top $700 billion (the highest level since World War II), with $118 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and $19 billion for defense-related atomic energy programs (http://www.csbaonline.org/publications/2011/07/analysis-of-the-fy2012-defense-budget/). Greens have called for Congress to cancel further war spending and have urged a halt to nuclear energy, as well as deep cuts for military contracts. Veterans’ benefits and services should be maintained.

“For decades, Republicans have wanted to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as part of their intention to redistribute the nation’s wealth from working people to the One Percent, but they knew they couldn’t accomplish this on their own. Unless Americans can persuade him otherwise, our reelected Democratic President is about to fulfill the GOP agenda. The most vulnerable Americans — the poor, Blacks and other people of color, old people, those with medical problems — will be made to suffer so that the White House and Congress can placate the rich,” said Darryl! Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

“We encourage all Americans to speak out in defense of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The worst thing that can happen is for people who voted for President Obama’s reelection to succumb to a post-election ‘Just let Obama take care it’ mentality or to mainstream media platitudes declaring that ‘bipartisan compromise is always for the best’. Such thinking killed the antiwar movement after Mr. Obama’s first victory in 2008. The looming Grand Bargain is proof that we desperately need to get some Greens elected to Congress,” added Mr. Moch.

President Obama has endorsed recommendations by his Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Responsibility Commission to reduce Social Security. During his October 3 debate, he signaled his agreement with Republican contender Mitt Romney when he said “I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position.”

Green presidential nominee Jill Stein strongly opposed the cuts and offered the Green New Deal as a plan to stimulate the economy and generate jobs for 25 million Americans (http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal).

Greens agree with Dean Baker and other economists that a projected Social Security shortfall in 20 or 30 years can be averted by a very modest raise on the payments cap for the wealthy. The Green Party supports expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, which would cut health care spending by hundreds of billions of dollars and rein in skyrocketing health-care costs.

See also:

“Green Party warns of a bipartisan attack on the social safety net for working and poor Americans, urges a halt to looming cuts based on sequestration and Social Security ‘reform'”
Green Party press release, October 23, 2012

“Obama/GOP ‘Grand Bargain’ Threatens Medicare”
Healthcare-NOW!, November 12, 2012

“Green Party advances in state and local races on Election Day 2012”
Green Party press release, November 8, 2012

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