January 2011

How NOT to Cut the Deficit
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Everyone is concerned about spending—but the wrong belt-tightening will squeeze working families harder.


Jobless Americans put this money directly back into the economy by paying bills, buying food and supporting businesses.

Every $1 paid out increases the gross domestic product by $1.60, a report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee said.

Unemployment benefits funneled $225 million into our economy every day in 2010, according to a study by the California Budget Project.

SLASHING SOCIAL SECURITY will only hurt the 51 million seniors, disabled citizens and children receiving benefits.

Much like unemployment insurance, nearly all of Social Security dollars are channeled back into local economies.

While some lawmakers talk about the system soon going broke, Social Security is fully solvent until 2037, even at today's retirement age and funding levels, according to a joint report by Demos, the Economic Policy Institute and the Century Foundation.

Among those 65 and older, Social Security is the major source of income for 57 percent of families, and amounts to only $14,000 per year on average—barely above the poverty line for a household of two.

CARVING UP MEDICARE won't save money.

Reducing the amount the government puts into Medicare will shift costs to elderly recipients.

The EPI states that the average senior is already spending 30 percent of their Social Security benefits on Medicare out-of-pocket costs. Cutting funding would drive that amount higher.

RAISING THE RETIREMENT AGE will jeopardize worker health and safety.

If the eligibility for Social Security benefits is raised to 70, many workers will experience an undue physical and emotional burden.

It would also block the pipeline for younger workers who desperately need to enter the job market.

EXTENDING TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHY would increase the debt, not fix it.

The top 2 percent of Americans do not recirculate their tax savings back into the economy, as middle-class families do.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the Bush-era cuts to the wealthy cost the treasury more than $2 trillion over a decade.

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