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The Fiscal Cliff

WHEREAS, the American social contract between this society and working men and women took many decades for Organized Labor to set in place and the recent Presidential election is regarded as a tremendous victory in turning back the assaults on public and private labor union members, on the working and middle classes and Americans supported by the social safety net; and

WHEREAS, those elected with the support of Labor and its progressive allies must KEEP THE PROMISE made during the political campaign to promote job creation legislation, to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% of society; and

WHEREAS, the so called ‘fiscal cliff’ if unresolved takes effect on and after January 1, 2013 resulting in: higher tax rates for both the middle class and the wealthy with an estimation of a household income of $64,000 to $109,000 paying approximately $3500 more per year; changes in the Alternative Minimum Tax; reduced consumer spending as a consequence of unbalanced tax increases; increased payroll taxes; more taxes on investments; a failure to raise the debt ceiling; with the potential of removing from the economy $700 Billion representing 4% of the Gross Domestic Product — all further threatening the credit rating of the federal government, potentially sending the market into a downward tailspin and possibly sending the economy back into a deep recession eliminating rather than creating jobs; and

WHEREAS, solutions to this crisis must be balanced whether it be tax restructuring or belt tightening for providers of benefits so that all segments of society share both the responsibilities and the long and short range benefits in both creating jobs and building a more secure economic future; and

WHEREAS, solutions already presented by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, the ‘Grand Bargain,’ the ‘Super Committee,’ and the current “Fix the Debt” proposals by a group of business CEOs, all represent unbalanced burdens on working men and women who traditionally have played by the rules while sparing the corporate welfare privileges of business institutions and their leaders who actually shipped American jobs overseas and who reaped the benefits of the economic crisis that they created; and

WHEREAS, probable preliminary action by the current lame duck session of Congress attempting to resolve the now mandatory budget Sequestration issue and potentially putting in place a legislative ‘Framework” of broad, unspecific revenue increases and budget cuts as goals for the new Congress to implement, is currently under consideration; Be it

RESOLVED that we urge President Obama and the Senate and House of Representatives to stand firm on protecting the interests of the middle and working classes and Americans supported by the social safety net, including opposition to cuts in Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid in negotiations to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’; and be it further

RESOLVED We strongly oppose such unbalanced and solely targeted remedies: the raising of the Social Security retirement age, means testing, a cap on income tax deductions harmful to the middle class and charities, schemes that would privatize or voucherize Medicare, block grants that would cripple Medicaid, tax restructuring that spares the wealthiest Americans, would continue tax credits for exporting American jobs or any other proposals that fail to KEEP THE PROMISE of fairness for all; and

RESOLVED that the UFT endorse the AFT’s support for expansion of the American Jobs Act that was proposed by President Obama to create millions of jobs; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT in coordination with NYSUT, AFT, the ARA and the AFL-CIO and progressive allies utilize its existing base of political activists for lobbying national legislators to aggressively support our interests by backing up President Obama, urging all to KEEP THE PROMISE made during the campaign to terminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, protect earned benefits and promote a labor friendly progressive agenda within the current ‘fiscal cliff’ debate; and be it further

RESOLVED that members of the UFT, in coordination with NYSUT, AFT, ARA and AFL-CIO lobby and like-minded progressive coalitions, contact and meet with appropriate legislators to assure that they KEEP THE PROMISE to create jobs, to protect and advance the economic dignity of the middle class, all working men and women and Americans supported by the social safety net in resolving the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis.