In a letter to his Senate colleagues today, Bernie Sanders exposed the bipartisan Simpson/Bowles plan for what it really is. A scheme to lower taxes on the wealthy and corporations while passing the burden to the rest of us.
Sanders laid out the 5 areas of Simpson-Bowles that he believes Democrats should strongly oppose. Simpson-Bowles would cut Social Security benefits for current retirees, cut veterans’ benefits, raise the retirement age to 69, and cut Social Security benefits for middle class workers. Simpson-Bowles would also cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. The Simpson-Bowles plan would reduce taxes to an even lower level than the Bush tax cuts. Taxes on corporations and the wealthy would be reduced to 23%-29%. Simpson-Bowles also would increase the gas tax by 15 cents, increase Medicare premiums, establish a territorial taxation system that would allow corporations to avoid US taxes by establishing subsidiaries overseas. Simpson-Bowles would also increase taxes on low income workers by 14.5% starting in 2021, and it would make fewer people eligible for SSI, CHIP, Medicaid, LIHEAP, WIC, Head Start, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Refundable Child Credit.
Sanders urged his Democratic colleagues to reject Simpson-Bowles because it would, “cause major economic pain to nearly every America while lowering tax rates for millionaires, billionaires, and large corporations even more than President Bush.”
There is a reason why Mitt Romney and the Republican campaigned so hard for Simpson-Bowles. It is exactly what the Republican Party wants. It slashes entitlements and passes the pain on to the middle and lower classes, while lowering taxes for corporations and the so called “job creators.” The rich feel no pain and get all of the gain from Simpson-Bowles.
The reason why this plan never went anywhere with Obama is because it violates several of the elements that he believes any deal on deficit reduction should contain. If congressional Democrats adopted Simpson-Bowles as their negotiating framework, they would lose before they even sat down at the table. Simpson-Bowles contains everything that the right could ever hope for. This is why it being championed by corporate America and the Republican Party.
Starting negotiations from the Simpson-Bowles framework would be like negotiating at all. Earlier today, President Obama asked Americans to make their voices heard on this issue. Call or write to your local representatives and senators. Let them know, that you won’t stand for any deficit deal that contains the Simpson-Bowles framework.
If you don’t stand up now, the wealthy’s gain will be your pain.