Workers to Congress, “No More Tax Cuts For The Rich. No Benefit Cuts For The Rest.”

20121128_Lobby-Day_Mike-McIntyre

Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security vital to North Carolinians

Representatives from the North Carolina State AFL-CIO joined other union leaders and advocates for workers from 33 states on Capitol Hill this week to lobby their members of Congress to finally let the Bush tax giveaway to the top 2% of taxpayers expire and to protect the future economic security of the other 98% by not cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Members of the delegation met with Senator Kay Hagan and Representatives Larry Kissell, David Price, G.K. Butterfield, Mike McIntyre, and Mel Watt.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with Senator Hagan’s staff,” said Sandra Koritz, co-chair of Triad Jobs with Justice. “We’re thrilled that she supports rolling back the tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans, and that she doesn’t believe in deficit reduction on the backs of working people in North Carolina. We’re looking forward to working together to ensure these budget talks don’t expand income inequality in our state.”

The average income of $611,690 for the top 2% of North Carolinians is 1180% higher than the average income of $51,810 of the other 98% and 4755% higher than the average annual Social Security benefit of just $12,864. Not only do Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security provide vital social insurance to ease the worst effects of such income inequality for millions of North Carolinians, according to this new report by the national AFL-CIO, they deliver a joint $48.2 billion a year into our state’s economy.

“We all need to mobilize to protect our future,” said Mark Case, president of the local AFL-CIO in Asheville after a full day of meetings in Washington. “We came all this way because we’ll do whatever it takes to keep our representatives representing us and not just the top 2%!”

Raising taxes on folks making more than $250,000 a year and preserving our social safety net were central issues in the presidential campaign. Now some in Congress want to use a budget crisis of their own making to force through policies which voters rejected not even one month ago.

“We’ve got the right president,” said Adam Orlovich, field program coordinator for the state AFL-CIO, after a meeting with Rep. Larry Kissell. “Now we need the right movement to hold all parties accountable and win this thing for working families.”

“Working people, jobless people and retirees, who just voted for a middle-class economy, shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health care and retirement security so that the richest 2% can continue getting more tax breaks,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It’s time to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits that support our working families. It’s time to eliminate tax breaks for the richest 2%. That’s fair, reasonable, and good public policy. ”