Progressive Democrats lobby against a "Grand Bargain" that will further unravel the social safety net.
BY THE SOUND OF THE MEDIA, AMERICA IS ON THE EDGE - STANDING ON WHAT IS BEING CALLED THE FISCAL CLIFF:
NAT SOUND (FOX): "This whole fiscal cliff issue"
NAT SOUND (NBC: "The Fiscal Cliff"
NAT SOUND (CNN): "Going Over the Fiscal Cliff"
THE FISCAL CLIFF IS THE END OF YEAR DEADLINE FOR AUTOMATIC BUDGET CUTS ACROSS ALL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AS WELL AS INCREASED TAX RATES FOR ALL AMERICANS, THAT WOULD COME IN THE FORM THE END OF BUSH-ERA TAX RATES ON THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS AND ENDING THE PARYOLL TAXCUTS - TOTALLY ABOUT 700 BILLION DOLLARS.
WITH THE CLOCK TICKING, PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA OR PDA ARE WAGING A CAMPAIGN TO MAKE SURE THAT LAWMAKERS DON'T MAKE CUTS TO ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID.
THEY SENT IN MORE THAN 70 LETTERS TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, EXPRESSING THEIR CONCERNS OVER AUSTERITY MEASURES.
SOT (Tim Carpenter, PDA National Director ): - It's time to protect Social Security. It's time to roll back the Bush tax cuts. It's time that we get on with the work to not only help the middle class but deal with those folks that have been impacted by the severe budget cuts that we've already faced. It's time for a job stimulus. It's time to put money into the economy and not cut it.
STANDUP (Jessica Desvarieux, Reporter, Real News Network) In Congress, many members are hoping for a grand bargain, that would mean spending cuts and raising revenue. For Progressives on the Hill spending cuts aren't completely off the table, especially when it comes to the defense budget.
SOT (Rep. Jim McGovern, D-MA): Reducing our nuclear arsenal saves billions, billions and billions of dollars. We are an habit here in Washington where you can't talk about cutting one penny from defense because you get accused on being soft on defense. Yet The Pentagon is one of the most inefficiently run agencies in our government. I want a tough defense but I want a lean defense. And bloat in our defense budget doesn't provide any security for use - it's just waste.
MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSMAN JIM MCGOVERN SAYS THAT HIS FELLOW DEMOCRATS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A CASE FOR THE USES OF GOVERNMENT AND WHY AUSTERITY IS THE WRONG PATH ESPECIALLY DURING A RECESSION.
SOT (Rep. Jim McGovern, D-MA): You do not have to lower people's standard of living or quality of life to be able to deal with our fiscal challenges. It's not about austerity. We saw what austerity did in Europe. It's not the way to go. It's about thoughtful, imaginative investments in government and figuring out a way we balance the budget, to lift people up. And that's my hope, thats what I would like to see happen.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN HAS YET TO BE DETERMINED. BUT MANY OUTSIDE GROUPS ARE TRYING TO PERSUADE THE DIRECTION OF THE CONVERSATION.
THERE IS STRONG CAMPAIGN BY THE NON-PROFIT FIX THE DEBT HEADED BY MEMBERS OF THE BIPARTISAN SIMPSON-BOWLES COMMISSION.
ON THEIR WEBSITE, THEY STATE THAT THEY QUOTE "DON'T SUPPORT ANY ONE PLAN IN PARTICULAR" BUT WHATEVER PLAN THAT MOVES FORWARD SHOULD INCLUDE REFORM TO MEDICARE AND MEDICAID, CHANGES TO SOCIAL SECURITY,
AS WELL AS COMPREHENSIVE TAX REFORM THAT BROADENS THE TAX BASE, LOWER RATES, AND RAISES REVENUE.
THIS GROUP HAS A COMBINATION OF CONGRESSMEN AND CORPORATE INTERESTS ON ITS BOARD LIKE CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF HONEYWELL DAVID COTE AND VICE PRESIDENT AND THE CO-CHAIRMAN OF JP MORGAN JAMES B. LEE JR.
WALL STREET HAS MADE A PUSH TO IMPACT THE POTENTIAL BUDGET DEAL WITH THIS PLEDGE AND MEDIA APPEARANCES.
AND ON NOVEMBER 19TH, GOLDMAN SACHS CEO LLOYD BLANKFEIN SAID IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS THAT TAXES MUST INCREASE ON THE WEALTHY AMERICANS BUT CITIZENS MUST ALSO ASJUST THEIR EXPECTATIONS ON SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.
PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?
BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. ... So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?
BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them."
BUT CAN WE REALLY AFFORD THEM IN A COUNTRY THAT HAS THE LARGEST GDP IN THE WORLD? THE REAL NEWS SPOKE WITH A FORMER FEDERAL BANKING REGULATOR BILL BLACK TO GET HIS TAKE.
SOT ( WILLIAM K. BLACK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, ECONOMICS & LAW - UMKC - Bill Black on 2012-11-26 at 14.13.mov): "Let's just take a look at history" - OUT: 2:42 - "programs like Social Security"
BUT THE LATEST CNN/ORC INTERNATIONAL SURVEY SHOWS THAT 7 OUT OF 10 AMERICANS WANT TO SEE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO COMPROMISE ON THE FISCAL ISSUES. THOSE IN FAVOR OF BALANCING THE BUDGET ARGUE THAT IF AVERAGE AMERICANS HAVE TO BALANCE THEIR OWN HOUSEHOLD BUDGETS, WHY SHOULDN'T CONGRESS. BILL BLACK SAYS THAT ANALOGY IS FLAWED BECAUSE THE US DOESN'T HAVE A FINITE LIFE EXPECTANCY AND CAN PRINT ITS OWN CURRENCY.
SOT - WILLIAM K. BLACK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, ECONOMICS & LAW - UMKC):
IN - 7:25 - The United States has very substantial advantages of being"
OUT - 8:07 - "at virtually zero rate of interest"
PRESIDENT OBAMA PLANS TO TAKE HIS MESSAGE ON THE ROAD THIS WEEK TO PERSUADE AMERICANS TO PRESSURE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO SUPPORT HIS AGENDA OF ENDING BUSH TAX CUTS ON THE WEALTHY AND EXTENDING PAYROLL TAX CUTS FOR HOUSEHOLDS EARNING LESS THAN $250,000 A YEAR.
ALTHOUGH TALKS ABOUT CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY HAVE BEEN RULED OUT, ACCORDING TO WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID ARE STILL ON THE TABLE.
JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: "Social Security is not a driver of the deficit" - - OUT: - "as we have already"
BUT FOR BLACK, HE SEES THIS PUSH FOR COMPROMISE AND DEALING WITH SOCIAL SECURITY ON A SEPARATE TRACK, IT COULD BE SETTING THE STAGE FOR CORPORATIONS PRIVATIZING SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
SOT ( BILL BLACK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, ECONOMICS & LAW - UMKC):
IN:- 14:37 --- "He would have given away the store"
OUT: 14:58 --- "He would have provide the political cover political cover....and eventually privatize Social Security."
IN 13:36- "So just as a conservative republican could go to Red China"
OUT 13:53 - "Democratic president open up the safety net to being unraveled" - -
AN OPENING THAT PROGRESSIVES ON THE HILL WANT TO REMIND THE PRESIDENT TO KEEP CLOSED.
FOR THE REAL NEWS, JESSICA DESVARIEUX, WASHINGTON.