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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-17-11 06:56 AM
Original message
Berkshire labor group calls on Kerry
Edited on Mon Oct-17-11 07:18 AM by Mass
I feel sorry that good people are reduced to implore their senator. I do not think Kerry wants to reduce SS, Medicare, and Medicaid but I also think his constituents deserve an answer on what he would consider acceptable for Social Security or not. Grrr!! I cannot remember having been that conflicted in politics. It may be that this situation drives me more and more to the left, but I have rarely had less inclination of working for this election, even if I fear what would happen if the RW gained the presidency and the Senate.

Berkshire labor group calls on Kerry

PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire Central Labor Council has joined a growing host of voices raised around the country in opposition to the concept of federal funding cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

"A lot of older union members have been depending on Medicare and Social Security and dont want to see it cut," said Brian P. Morrison, president of the BCLC. "And for many others, it will most likely be their only income, since not everyone has a retirement benefit system."

The resolution was passed by the local labor council and sent to Sen. John Kerrys office late last month. Morrison said the council felt it was important to make its voice heard now, while Kerry is still working on the so-called congressional super committee to identify further cuts to the federal budget in an attempt to alleviate the federal deficit.

The resolution implores Kerry, a Democrat, "to oppose consideration of Social Security during deficit-reduction talks because it should be handled on a separate track apart from the deficit, which it does not contribute to."

The resolution also expresses opposition to cutting Medicare and Medicaid, and support for President Barack Obamas proposed American Jobs Act, "which would be funded primarily by raising revenue from those Americans most able to pay."

A spokesperson for Kerry in Washington said he welcomes input from constituents, and has even set up a website,, for them to express their opinions on the deficit-cutting effort.
"Sen. Kerry is actively seeking advice and ideas from constituents across Massachusetts on ways we can reduce the deficit, create jobs, and strengthen our economy," said Whitney Smith, a Kerry spokeswoman. "And hes taking those conversations and suggestions straight into his discussions in Washington and will continue to do so throughout the work of this committee."

The super committee, formally titled the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, was formed to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit as a condition of a compromise budget bill passed by Congress and signed by the president in August. The six Democrats and six Republicans have until Nov. 23 to come up with a plan.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-17-11 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. I agree with you, but also disagree
I definitely think that constituents need to know what Kerry's values are on this - and I think he has honestly answered questions in Senate speeches, town halls, talk shows and in the very serious interview with the Boston Globe which I know troubled you because he was honest that the current reality is very bad. From the Senate speeches, I think we know what his personal solutions are.

He has, however, been very closed mouthed since he became one of the committee. This is mostly the same as ALL members of that committee - so it seems likely that was agreed upon by them as a way to avoid anyone taking stands, popular with their side, that could make them more unwilling to compromise within the committee and to build trust.

It is too bad that this long term debt issue was not acted on in 2009 or 2010, when Baucus tried to get a committee like this started. We would have been in a much better situation. Now, the biggest question - given the Republicans are already saying they would pass legislation to eliminate the defense cuts is whether the Democrats could refuse to pass that without also eliminating the cuts to entitlements and social programs - essentially canceling the bribe the Republicans forced to get the debt ceiling raised. If so, then the Democrats have a higher bar to meet in that the compromise needs to be better than the current situation - not the automatic cuts. As the long term problem is still there, could it end up worse if pushed off past 2012. There is a possibility then of the Republicans controlling both Houses and the Presidency, but there is also the possibility we get back the House and retain the Senate and the Presidency.

I think the Democrats NOT ON THE COMMITTEE led by Obama should be stating that the compromise must NOT lead to the income inequality gap becoming larger. The OWS has made that statistic better known and it is a measure of unfairness that people can understand. Someone from the committee should ask the budget group to calculate the expected value of this for all proposed plans. ( This should most certainly include the Ryan plan, which with its elimination of capital gains and estate taxes likely moves that statistic pretty far in the wrong direction accelerating over time.) Making this an issue directly related to the supercommittee could help give the Democrats leverage.

I think Kerry's spokesman's answer was great and it respects the groups that are petitioning Kerry. I hope he is using those people's comments and the OWS' issues to help pull to the left. I have no doubt that he and all the democrats are pulling to the left. The question is whether they will have the strength to all 6 reject a bad deal if the Republicans really refuse to compromise. If they do - they and the Republicans will have been said to fail, but, if they accept a deal that hurts people, they will and should be blamed. It will be hard to argue, though it likely will be true, that the deal could have been worse without them.

My biggest concern with Kerry is that he is rightfully proud of his ability as a diplomat and that he is one who does see solutions that others miss. It will be harder for him than most of the others to admit that there is no possible viable compromise given where the Republicans are. This tenaciousness which has often been a very positive asset of Kerry's could lead him to accepting something that he (and we) will regret.

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