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More and more Republican senators are moving away from the very rightwing Grover Norquist and his pledge to never raise taxes. It is way past time raise taxes, especially the capital gains rate on the rich. Raise rates. Close loopholes.  Focus on those who make more than $250,000 a year.

As we’ve said in this space before, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid must not be cut. There are so many reasons – these programs are amongst the most effective ever in the history of the American government. If Social Security and Medicare were cut, the least poor demographic in America could revert to the poorest demographic in America. Were Medicaid to be cut, low income seniors like my father could lose their care and even their housing.

If the so-called grand bargain between the Republicans and Democrats include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would make our nation’s shame of inequality even worse.

My friend Scott Marshall has a great idea to narrow our shameful inequality: raise the minimum wage. It is time to raise the minimum wage. There simply is no good argument against it. It doesn’t close businesses or drive away business. It puts more money in the hands of people who will spend it immediately, benefiting all of us including business. It is the righteous thing to do. It is part of the solution to narrow our growing inequality.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
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