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President's Deficit Plan Supports Revenue Increases, Protects Social Security

Any cuts to health programs must protect women and families, NWLC says

September 19, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) This morning, President Obama sent his “Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.”

The following is a statement by National Women’s Law Center Co-Presidents Nancy Duff Campbell and Marcia D. Greenberger.

“President Obama’s long-term deficit reduction proposal contains important provisions, including the requirement that wealthy individuals and corporations start paying their fair share of taxes and that Social Security remain intact. While critical details have yet to emerge about the proposed cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and other health programs, it is essential that they be designed and implemented in a way that protects women and families,” said Campbell.

“It is past time for those with the greatest means to contribute their fair share to reducing the nation’s long-term deficit. Although record numbers of women are living in poverty and without health insurance, Congress already has cut vital services, with deeper cuts scheduled under the recently passed Deficit Control Act. Our current tax system allows millionaires and other wealthy individuals to pay lower tax rates than middle-class workers, but these individuals and corporations have not been required to contribute a penny to deficit reduction. President Obama’s insistence—unlike that of Speaker John Boehner—that a deficit-reduction plan include increased revenues from those with the greatest ability to pay is both fair and fiscally responsible,” said Campbell.

“It is important that the President rejected proposals to change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security and other federal programs—a benefit cut that would have hit women especially hard. We urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and Congress to follow suit. Social Security benefits are already modest, just $12,000 on average for women 65 and older, and haven’t been responsible for the deficit,” said Campbell.

“The President’s proposals for Medicaid, Medicare and other health programs stand in stark contrast to Republican proposals to slash and undermine them. Nonetheless, it is key that they not shift costs to already strapped state governments, whose budget pressures could lead them to further reduce services, increase the financial burden on individuals, or drop them from the rolls altogether. With so many people struggling to get by every day, there could not be a worse time to cut these critical programs,” Greenberger said.

“As the Joint Select Committee and Congress consider proposals for long-term deficit reduction, we urge them not to delay action on passing a robust jobs creation package. The immediate deficit facing the nation today is the jobs deficit, and strong, swift action is critical. Measures, such as those proposed by the President, to help women and men get back to work will not only alleviate hardship for millions of families, but also grow the economy and bring down deficits over the long term,” Greenberger added.