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U.S. President George W. Bush (L) delivers comments on a meeting with the House Republican leadership as Minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) looks on at the White House in Washington May 7, 2008.    REUTERS/Jim Young     (UNITED STATES)
No more of this.
Unions are diving into the fiscal cliff artifice fight with an ad campaign aimed at House Republicans who are open to increasing revenue by letting the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy expire, and at Senate Democrats who might go wishy-washy about doing so despite the widespread popularity of the idea among voters. The NEA, SEIU and AFSCME are mounting what's described as a six-figure ad buy in Colorado, Missouri, Virginia and in "several dozen" Republican House districts.
"We are going to encourage people to stand up for the middle class," [NEA President Dennis] Van Roekel said. "We want to make sure that we don’t lose sight of the election." [...]

"We are struck by how clearly the American people see that the answer to long term deficit reduction is jobs, not cuts," the labor official said. "It can only be done by creating jobs, making the rich and corporations pay their fair share and protecting the middle class from a tax hike and cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education."

Throughout the 2012 election cycle, the AFL-CIO said that its new approach to campaigning would be to keep its campaign structure in place after elections, ready to fight for important policy issues. Of the three unions running this ad campaign, only one, AFSCME, is part of the AFL-CIO, but it seems clear that SEIU and NEA, too, are ready to approach this policy fight as a continuation of the kind of campaign they ran for the elections.

House Republicans are faced with a choice: let the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000, the top 2 percent of the country, expire and keep tax rates the same for everyone else, or hold 98 percent of the people hostage to low rates for the top 2 percent. And unions are putting some money into making sure that voters are clear on what that choice is and who's making it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:59 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I saw a quote from a GOP member newly (14+ / 0-)

    elected to the House who indicated he was OK with doing away with the mortgage deduction in order to protect the tax cuts for the rich. The ads almost write themselves.  

    I hope someone will connect the dots and do one like this - Republicans will do away with the mortgage deduction which helps working Americans live in a modest home while defending tax cuts for the rich who have multiple houses, including multimillion dollar mansions like this one:

    “John Schnatter’s 40,000 square foot castle is located in a wealthy country club suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. The property is spread out over a 16 acre estate and as Romney mentioned, features several swimming pools, a private lake and a golf course. The guest house alone is 6000 square feet and is valued at over $7 million according to! Another interesting feature is the 22 car multi-level underground garage which has its very own “valet office”, car wash and a gigantic motorized turn table-driveway to help park stretch limousines.”

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

    by ahumbleopinion on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:33:19 AM PST

  •  Laura, I have a Union bias, always have. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, PSzymeczek, bontemps2012
  •  Clearly, we step right out of 2012... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, bontemps2012

    into the 2013-2014 Presidential Campaign.

    Now, no fooling. Just think of 2014 as an extension of the good work that DemocratIC volunteers and staffers did in the 2011-2012 campaigns.


    THE HOUSE WILL BE OURS (Democrats')

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:13:41 AM PST

  •  Good Idea, Wrong target? (5+ / 0-)

    If the unions are in continuous campaign mode (hopefully true) then I would argue that we should not just be talking on individual issues, but also try to frame the argument to move the Overton window to the left.

    As Democrats, we focus on issues and not the overarching concept of fairness.  We are now into the Overton window view that "capitalism must be unfettered by regulation"  and "Greed is good".  

    The Unions are in a perfect position to move the Overton Window to the left, "a level playing field so everyone who wants to can be successful", and "The good for the Many is preferable to the good for a few"

    We really, really need to get the emotional message across that the middle class is being screwed, and attitudes need to change.  

    ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

    by NevDem on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:32:15 AM PST

    •  Fairness is an undefined term: What's fair to one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Rikon Snow

      may be considered unfair by another.

      •  Exactly. "Fairness" needs to be defined (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PSzymeczek, VClib

        in terms of effective tax rates or actual dollars paid in federal income taxes.

        Say you have a college-educated, working professional couple (an engineer married to a CPA) in their 50's, with two kids in college, each making $150,000.  That's the wealthy -- Household AGI of around $300,000.  How much should they pay in federal income taxes (not counting payroll taxes and state income taxes)?  What is the dollar amount that's "fair"?  I'll bet there are a lot of different answers to that one.

        •  Fairness should also include not having policies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that reduce US employment, especially policies that make the US uncompetitive as a place to invest in business operations that result in jobs.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 12:02:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  for instance? what wage floor would make the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            old possum

            us more competitive?  what incentives should be offered to make the us more "attractive" for businesses to invest here?

            the right always talks in vague language about how the us should be more "business friendly" but never says exactly what that means.

            perhaps you would like to elaborate on that . . . ?

            oh, & btw, i thought the reason businesses weren't "creating" jobs for the last 4 yrs was b/c of so-called "uncertainty" about healthcare, taxes, etc. -- not uncompetitiveness.

    •  This issue could be a concrete example (0+ / 0-)

      of how one moves the window.  I don't think it has to be window vs issue.  

  •  This seems completely unrealistic to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The so-called "fiscal cliff" was put in place so as to guarantee that there would be serious deficit reduction the last time that the debt ceiling needed to be raised.  It was a compromise then, where Democrats signed on to the position that there needed to be serious deficit reduction.

    "It can only be done by creating jobs, making the rich and corporations pay their fair share and protecting the middle class from a tax hike and cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education."
    What this asks Democrats to do is to go back on that deal that they made last time, and to take the position now that there is no need for serious deficit reduction.  And it would require that the President repudiate the platform he ran on -- a "balanced" approach to reducing the deficit -- that includes both tax increases on the wealthy AND significant spending cuts:  
    Number four, I want to reduce our deficit. It’s got to be done in a balanced way. I’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending. I’m willing to do more. I’m willing to cut more, and I’m willing to work with Democrats and Republicans when it comes to making some adjustments that bring down the cost of our health care programs, which obviously are the biggest drivers of our deficit.

    But nobody who looks at the numbers thinks it’s realistic for us to actually reduce our deficit in a serious way without also having some revenue. And we’ve identified tax rates going up to the Clinton rates for income above $250,000; making some adjustments in terms of the corporate tax side that could actually bring down the corporate tax overall, but broaden the base and close some loopholes. That would be good for our economy, and it would be good for reducing our deficit.

    A deal with Republicans where ALL that happens is tax increases on the top 2.5% (about $800 billion over 10 years) with NO serious cuts to spending is not going to happen.  And. frankly, if the Republicans give in on the demand for tax increases in exchange for the cuts that the President put on the table last time, I don't think the public is going to blame the Republicans if no deal happens.  

    Now, it may be that you think that the so-called "fiscal cliff" is better than what the President called "a balanced approach."  That's fine.  But it's completely, completely unrealistic to think that the Republicans will ever (now, or this spring) agree to those tax hikes, which would be a serious compromise for them, without an equal compromise on the part of the Democrats, i.e., the kinds of spending cuts the President proposed last year -- his "balanced approach."    

    I know that some people would like to think that somehow Speaker Boehner is going to agree to tax hikes on the top 2.5%, and nothing else, in exchange for   getting past the "fiscal cliff" (whether now or after January 1) AND the next raising of the debt ceiling, which I think happens in January or February.  And I'd like to win the lottery.  That has about as much chance of happening.  

    The only way a deal gets done is for BOTH sides to compromise.  And if the Republicans say they are willing to compromise and Democrats say, "No compromise, we just expect the House Republicans to give up" I don't think the public is going to keep blaming the House Republicans.  And even if they did, I don't think the House Republicans will care -- most of them fear a primary from the right much more than they fear a general election.  

    I understand what people want to happen.  But I don't think it's helpful for people to keep putting out there these unrealistic scenarios.  Then, when the President DOES agree to something like the kind of cuts he put on the table in 2011, what are people here going to say?

  •  Why not reduce Military Spending ? (7+ / 0-)

    This gives you an idea of the actual cost.You can see clearly where the cliff is located. Not a single word about Defense spending because it is to protect Wall Street's foreign Investments, factories and trade routes. Make them Pay for it.

    National Defense Consumptio­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­n Expenditur­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­e­­­s and Gross Investment­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­, 1992-2012

    (Billions of dollars)

    1992 ( 376.8)
    1993 ( 363.0) Clinton
    1994 ( 353.8)

    1995 ( 348.8)
    1996 ( 354.8)
    1997 ( 349.8)
    1998 ( 346.1)
    1999 ( 361.1)

    2000 ( 371.0)
    2001 ( 393.0) Bush
    2002 ( 437.7)
    2003 ( 497.9)
    2004 ( 550.8)

    2005 ( 589.0)
    2006 ( 624.9)
    2007 ( 662.3)
    2008 ( 737.3)
    2009 ( 771.6) Obama
    2010 ( 830.8)
    2011 (833.5)
    2012 (834.6) est.

    Here is a chart so you can look it up yourself.

    American Heart Association: Diet Soda can cause type 2 Diabetes. "Circulation" July 23, 2007. Read it for yourself.

    by jeffrey789 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:26:39 AM PST

  •  So a tax increase on the wealthy... (0+ / 0-)

    that they can easily swallow, plus massive cuts to social programs that folks can't afford to live with. tell me how this is good for America? I would be more comforted if the unions were defending and calling for our social programs to be strengthened.

  •  Can Democrats face the choice? (0+ / 0-)

    It would be good, but I remember that  the 2010 elections came without Democrats touching the issue.  They seemed perfectly willing to pay a very heavy electoral price in order to avoid committing continuing low taxes for the non-wealthy.

    I'll believe Democrats are sincere when there's a bill on the table.  If you guys'll do that, I expect Republicans to shit bricks.  

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:11:21 AM PST

  •  Glad they are doing this. (3+ / 0-)

    The ads are directed to McCaskill, Warner, and Bennet, I think, along with some R congressfolks.

    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:12:36 AM PST

  •  To get out of this financial mess, we're going to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    need both tax increases and spending cuts. Problem is, we live in a society where we want something for nothing - any politician that wants to raise taxes and cut spending will never get (re)elected.

    •  Not really. The politicians of both parties have (2+ / 0-)

      decided that I get a whole bunch of military hardware with extra war for my tax money.

      It's not that I want something for nothing, it's that I want something better for the something I already pay.  I'd pay more, if it wasn't all turned into blood money the second I get my paycheck..

      "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

      by Rikon Snow on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:26:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  not really (0+ / 0-)

      If we returned to the Clinton tax rates and defense spending rates, we wouldn't need additional spending cuts (or at least we'd be pretty close.)

      We're only in a financial mess because the Democrats want a $3 trillion tax cut, and the Republicans want a $4 trillion tax cut.

  •  According to this diary (0+ / 0-)

    they're pushing for a tax on the highest income Americans, who are not necessarily the wealthiest Americans

    (just saying, I clicked on this with high hopes that the diary title would be true . . .. ).

  •  Fiscal "artifice" it may be, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Too darned many voters seem to only be able to comprehend slogans and memes; little can be accomplished if they're overwhelmed with details.  

    It's time for the unions to help Democratic congresscritters not only grow a backbone but use it!  And by "help" I mean "force" or at least "push."

    Whether it's an accurate quote or not, I like the words attributed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."  I strongly suspect that applies to Obama and many in congress.

    To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. -Abraham Lincoln

    by Eyesbright on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:32:23 AM PST

  •  I Don't Trust Them! (0+ / 0-)

    It's great that the new ads are being aimed at the House Republicans.  But they should also be aimed at the Senate Democrats!  I do NOT trust those guys!  They have a track record of caving in to the Republicans at every opportunity, and I am afraid that they will do so again concerning the death of the Bush tax cuts.  I would love to be proven wrong, but I am afraid that history will prove me right.

    And while we are at it, let's not be afraid to hold Barak's feet to the fire.  There WAS a reason that we re-elected him, after all.

  •  Could one recommend a project to bash (0+ / 0-)

    the older Americans' fancy ideas about Ronald Reagan ???

    He was inept at military matters. His one significant test was in Lebanon, after fecklessly cheering on Ariel Sharon for his invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

    Here is a take on the ensuing series of 4 truck bombings in 1983. 392 dead. The embassy and Marine barracks somewhat known.

    Republican/conservative propaganda outlets take the direction of rewriting these events. Falsely, of course.

    Benghazi, 4. Beirut, 392. Tough Lessons for "Empire Light" Going Forward.

    Tough little piece. Not well written. This:

    Brought on this:

    Reagan's cowardice then emboldened terrorists everywhere, as he abandoned our Maranist Christian allies. Bush41 copied that trick with his Iraqis after the Gulf War.

    Low-to-mediocre presidents, the both of them.

  •  News Flash: Public Unions Demand More Money (0+ / 0-)

    I agree that high income earners should pay more, but having the Public Employee Unions promote this idea just begs for an attack on the reason that the wealthier need to pay more.

    Public Unions advocate it because it means more money in their own pockets.   Not a good reason, in my opinion.

    I personally view this as one of the main problems with Public Sector union power.    They become active in issues that affect their own pocketbooks.  

    If Public Unions wanted to encourage more fairness in taxation, they might offer to pay income taxes on health benefits above a certain level.   The self employed and self insured don't get to deduct health insurance.

    They might offer to tie their benefits in general to the benefits earned in similar private sector jobs.

    I am NOT saying that private sector pay and benefits are sufficient and fair.  I AM saying that Public Sector workers should not make up a distinct economic class.  To the extent private sector workers lack the powers held by the public sector worker, there will be resentment, even when there is agreement on other issues.

    If you want to see how that works, watch how KOS commenters attack anyone who speaks against public union power.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:45:37 AM PST

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