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Disaster Warning on 'Gang of Six'

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Five members of the 'Gang of Six.' From left: Senators Kent Conrad, Mike Crapo,
Mark Warner, Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn. Not pictured: Sen. Saxy Chambliss.
(photo: Common Dreams)


Disaster Warning: 'Gang of Six' deal sacrifices Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to GOP madness.
The latest idea to emerge in negotiations over a deficit-reduction package came from a group of senators that calls itself the Gang of Six. The proposal would be a disaster, Sen. Bernie Sanders warned. "The plan would result in devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many other programs that are of vital importance to working families in this country. Meanwhile, tax rates would be lowered for the wealthiest people and the largest, most profitable corporations."

"This is an approach that should be rejected by the American people. At a time when the rich are becoming richer and corporate profits are soaring, at least half of any deficit-reduction package must come from upper income people and profitable corporations. We must also take a hard look at military spending, which has tripled since 1997."

Summary of the "Gang of Six Plan"

Provides Major Tax Cuts to the Wealthy and Large Corporations.

  • The Gang of Six plan reduces the top marginal income tax rate for the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations from 35 percent to as low as 23 percent (about 34 percent lower than the top tax rates under Bush).
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  • Instead of reforming the Alternative Minimum Tax, it abolishes it altogether providing a major tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.

  • It reduces the deficit by about $3.7 trillion over 10 years, while providing a net tax cut of $1.5 trillion that will mainly go to the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations.

  • In other words, 100 percent of the deficit reduction achieved by the Gang of Six plan is through spending cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, education, child care, Head Start, LIHEAP, the environment, and other programs that the sick, the elderly, the children, and working families need.

  • Any tax revenue that is raised by closing tax loopholes for large corporations must be used to lower tax rates.

  • Revenue raisers cannot be used to increase spending at all. Revenue raisers can only be used to lower tax rates or reduce the deficit.
  • Reduces the Deficit on the Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick, and Working Families.

    • It imposes undefined spending caps to be in effect until at least 2015 that could only be raised by 67 votes in the Senate.

    Immediately Reduces Cost of Living Adjustments for Social Security Benefits.

    • Even though Social Security recipients haven't gotten a COLA for 2 straight years, the Gang of Six believes that the formula for calculating COLAs is too generous.

    • Under their plan, they would ensure that seniors never get a fair COLA by shifting to the Chained-CPI which would significantly understate inflation for seniors.

    • Under the Gang of Six plan, ten years from now the typical 75-year-old will see their Social Security benefits cut by $560 a year, and the average 85-year-old will see a cut of $1,000 a year.

    Slashes Medicare.

    • Cuts Medicare by at least $298 billion over 10 years.

    Holds Deficit Reduction Hostage to Cutting Social Security Benefits.

    • If the Gang of Six deficit reduction plan receives 60 votes, it will not be sent to the House until and unless the Senate also adopts a plan to reform Social Security so that it is solvent for the next 75 years.

    • If 60 Senators don't vote to approve an undefined 75-year Social Security solvency bill, the deficit reduction plan dies, even if 60 Senators voted to approve it.

    • Social Security is solvent for the next 25 years. No other government program can make that claim.
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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)
 

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I am surprised no one has made any commentary in h... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Jul 21, 2011 at 2:53:04 PM