Trumka: No Grand Bargain

In General Interest by Jonathan Tasini1 Comment

I am always looking for someone to get out from the idiotic discussion about the phony debt and deficit crisis. Thanks, Rich Trumka.

Ah, a breathe of fresh air:

What is the grand bargain? It boils down to lower tax rates for rich people — paid for by benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These are precisely the issues that are being debated so vigorously in the campaign, and voters do not want anything to do with such a deal.

The pundits will tell you that Democrats have no choice but to accept Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts — because this is the only way Republicans will agree to more tax revenue. This is the grand bargain.

We could not disagree more.

When I hear people say we need to cut Social Security benefits, I wonder whether they know that millions of people lost their retirement savings in the Great Recession and that traditional pensions are increasingly hard to come by. Do the benefit cutters think seniors are sitting around wondering how to spend their lavish retirement benefits — now averaging the princely sum of $14,500 per year? Do they think near-seniors are suddenly realizing that their savings and pensions are much more secure than they had ever imagined possible? Are the people who want to raise the retirement age aware that life expectancy for Americans who lack a high school diploma is actually declining? Do they understand that raising the retirement age is a benefit cut, no matter what age you retire?


The grand bargain crowd says we have to cut benefits to lower the deficit. But if they were serious about reducing the deficit, they would not propose to lower the top tax rate for the richest Americans, which wastes trillions of dollars. If you want to cut benefits for working Americans while cutting the top tax rate for the richest Americans, it is abundantly clear which side you’re on.


This deal stinks to high heaven, which is precisely why it is being negotiated behind closed doors. We say no to secret deals. Let’s have this debate out in the open. Do you think the American people really want to cut benefits for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare in exchange for lowering the top tax rate for the richest Americans? I don’t think so.


  1. Pingback: Obama=332 Electoral Votes. Good For Workers? | Working Life

Leave a Comment