The American Labor Reform Movement

November 15, 2012

Obama Agrees to Accept Cuts in Medicare and
Social Security in Secret Talks with Republicans

Labor Leaders Don't Press the President on Jobs Issue

For years, it has been an article of faith that the three indispensable entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security 73151 would be defended by every means from the efforts of Corporate America to cripple or eliminate them

Labor leaders never expected that Obama would use Medicare and Social Security as bargaining chips in his secret deals with House Speaker John Boehner.

At a White House meeting with labor leaders on Nov. 13, Obama focused their attention on his deficit reduction plan, which he called "balanced." His $4 trillion, 10-year plan includes a commitment to $1.1 trillion in spending cuts that the President and Congress had already agreed upon as well as additional spending cuts that include $340 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid.

The plan proposes a 1.6 trillion in revenue. That will be a "hard sell" for the president, whose House majority have opposed tax increase, especially on corporations and the wealthy.

At the meeting, the labor leaders, headed by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, refrained from issues, like "card check" that would directly strengthen labor's organizing efforts — issues they had unsuccessfully raised during the 2008 election campaign.

AFL-CIO Leaders Make No Demands at Meeting with Obama

In an interview later, Mary Jane Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), that had spent a minimum of $100 million on the 2012 election campaign, said, of the hour-long session with the President, "There was strong agreement that we have to pass the extension of the middle-class tax cuts. and we're hoping that the extreme right-wing in Congress will work with the President to have the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share."

With more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts to be made, the three entitlements are definitely in play as a counterweight to raising taxes on the wealthy. Then, there are the programs of the poor, sick and elderly.

Who will defend them?

It should be unacceptable to let Omama and Boehener decide on a trillion dollars of spending cuts? Why are our leaders giving them a blank check to pick which programs to save and which to destroy?

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Obama has found a way to abandon the fight for jobs and has convinced Trumka and his group to follow the President's lead. Obama is calling the tune and our leaders are dancing to it.

If we become dependent on following Obama's wishes, how is the AFL-CIO to grow? Shouldn't that be our real concern? Is that no longer on Trumka's agenda?