"Budget: Titanic Conflict Coming" National Democratic Strategist Robert Weiner And Policy Analyst Autumn Kelly Say Congressional Leadership Budget Puts Too Many At Risk

Article in Michigan Chronicle, six-time #1 African-American Newspaper, and Real Times Media Group

Mar 17, 2015, 18:08 ET from Robert Weiner Associates

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "4 trillion in tax dollars are at stake and there will be a titanic conflict over the budget," write Robert Weiner and Autumn Kelly in an article published in The Michigan Chronicle, called "Budget: Titanic Conflict Coming." President Obama released his budget in January and the authors say that this year's congressional budget resolution, just released, is like Paul Ryan's (R-WI) "Path to Prosperity" last year.  "There will be a conflict of titanic proportions between congressional Republicans and the President's allies before and after the April 15 completion deadline."

Weiner and Kelly assert, "Whether we provide jobs, health care, food, and education—or instead, tax breaks for the rich and corporate deregulation—has enormous consequences."  They cite a report from United Way that 67 percent—two thirds—of Detroit families are under the poverty line or can't afford basic needs. 

The authors write Senator Charles Schumer and Senate Democrats held a news conference March 12 "to urge Republicans to roll back harmful cuts that hurt the middle class." They contend that "calls for a new 'Freedom Budget' are on the mark, but the reality of politics will interfere."

Weiner and Kelly emphasize, "The proposed Republican budget—that cuts programs for everyone except the top 1%—would be detrimental to all the progress made by President Obama since the 2008 recession."

They state the facts: "There have been 60 straight months of private sector job growth—12 million jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped from 10% in 2009 to 5.5%. The deficit has been reduced from 10% of our GDP to 3% in five years. 11 million previously uninsured Americans now have health coverage."

The authors suggest, "The President's proposed 2016 budget would keep the progress going.  It cuts taxes for the middle class and raises them for the wealthy and big business, sets money aside for infrastructure and job growth, and continues to fund Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Senator Schumer (D-NY) said, 'If the GOP takes this (President's) budget and sticks it in a drawer, they'll be making it crystal clear that they're more interested in helping special interests than middle class families."'

Weiner and Kelly point out that, "Even though the President has no authority over the budget resolution, he does have the ability to veto spending appropriations that come after it, one by one, to force improvements. A budget means nothing until dollars are spent. He will telegraph his positions to Congress with written and verbal presidential statements."

They contend, "Republicans are using the deficit to justify more cuts, but Paul Ryan's proposals to amend the tax code will add nearly 100 billion to the deficit, all in unfunded tax cuts to the wealthy and large businesses. Obama has already cut the deficit by two thirds, so Ryan is abusing that progress for rich contributors instead of helping widespread jobs and economic progress. Listen carefully to his 'Cut the deficit—it means 'except for your friends."'

The authors add, "Now chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee with tax jurisdiction, Ryan plans 'tax reform' by consolidating seven tax brackets into one, and reducing the corporate tax to 'a fair and simple' tax code.  That 'flatter' tax means the poor pay more."

Weiner and Kelly continue, "He also keeps the fear assault going against Social Security.  He purports, 'The trust fund is not a real savings account.' He says it comes from 'dubious government accounting.' Tell that to the seniors who paid in. The fund has a surplus of 2.7 trillion and even after 2033 can pay 75% of benefits, which congress could then fix in a flash with a third of our cost of the Iraq war until Obama brought troops home. Over half of America's elderly would be in poverty without Social Security."

They report, "Ryan's and the new budget leaders' unregulated lump sum of lower funds for block grants will reduce the reach of critical initiatives like Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, WIC, and other social service programs. It would reduce Medicaid by a third. 'This is the definition of class warfare,' Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, said in response to Ryan's most recent budget."

The authors say, "One area should not be near agreement by both sides but is: the trillion-dollar (including secret 'black' operations) military and national security budgets. President Obama's military advisors have persuaded him on the high-figure value despite the President's criticizing our military expenditures as recently as last year, when he asserted, 'We spend more on our military than the next ten counties combined.' The Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus always seek reductions and try to reallocate a big chunk for anti-poverty and jobs programs here at home. They always fail. Ryan's budget actually calls for $270 billion more over ten years for military expenditures than Obama's so the president's version is considered 'compromise.'"

Weiner and Kelly add, "In the State of the Union speech this year, President Obama said to Members of Congress who refuse to raise the minimum wage, 'If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.' He's right --purchasing food, housing, and health care for your family with a job at $7.25 is just not possible."

The authors conclude, "The congressional leadership's budget will put people into poverty, and leave millions without health, food, college educations for their children, and housing. It will squeeze the pockets of middle and lower income earners even drier.  But the rich will get richer, and it will trickle down.  Keep waiting."

(Note: The article as published states budget to be submitted but it now has just been today, so this release reflects the updated action).

The article ran in the Michigan Chronicle and Real Times Media including The Michigan Chronicle, The Chicago Defender, The New Pittsburgh Courier, The Tri-State Defender (Memphis, Tennessee), and The Atlanta Daily World.

Robert Weiner is a former spokesman for the Clinton White House and senior staff for Reps. John ConyersCharles Rangel, Claude Pepper, Ed Koch and Sen. Edward Kennedy.  He wrote the epilogue to Bankole Thompson's groundbreaking book, "Obama and Christian Loyalty." Autumn Kelly is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates.

Link to article: http://michronicleonline.com/2015/03/17/budget-titanic-conflict-coming/

Contact: Bob Weiner or Autumn Kelly 301-283-0821 cell 202-306-1200 weinerpublic@comcast.net


SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates