Dear Sisters and Brothers:
On March 1, the federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” are scheduled to take effect, forcing nearly $85 billion in drastic, immediate budget cuts to programs Americans rely on daily.
But don’t be fooled—Congress has a choice. These cuts are easily preventable, but too many politicians in Washington are more concerned about protecting tax loopholes for the wealthy and large corporations than they are about the 1 million jobs that will vanish if sequestration goes into effect.
This is completely unacceptable. Here is just a sampling of what these cuts will mean:
- 2,100 fewer food inspections, stopping production at plants that require an inspector to operate
- 2,600 fewer criminal and civil cases would be handled by federal prosecutors
- 4,000 workers would be furloughed at the FAA, causing flight back-ups and longer airport lines
- 49,000 jobs would be lost due to across-the-board cuts in public education
- 70,000 children would lose Head Start funding along with 14,000 teachers and school employees
- 125,000 families would be put at risk of homelessness because their rental assistance would end
- 251,000 civilian employees of the military could be furloughed for up to 22 days
- 373,000 mentally ill adults and emotionally disturbed children may lose their treatments
- 600,000 women, infants and children would lose nutritional aid
- 1,000 less federal agents or the equivalent, significantly hindering our ability to combat violent crime, secure our borders and protect national security
- 150,000 veterans seeking help with their transition from active duty to civilian life would be affected as the Department of Labor’s Veterans Transition Assistance Program would have to reduce operations
Congress is willing to cut these programs and services to the bone—and for what? To protect loopholes and tax breaks like these:
- Extra tax breaks enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans — $520 BILLION
- Tax break for companies that ship jobs overseas — $168 BILLION
- Special tax breaks for the largest oil companies — $25 BILLION
- A loophole that lets millionaires pay lower tax rates than middle-class workers — $21 BILLION
- Tax deductions for vacation homes and yachts — $10 BILLION
- The corporate jet loophole — $3 BILLION
- Special write-offs for horse breeders (aka the “Bluegrass Boondoggle”) — $126 MILLION
Congress must act to prevent these damaging cuts and stop the tax giveaways to the richest 2% of Americans and large corporations—corporations that are sitting on piles of cash while the economy struggles to grow.
Last week, AFSCME members and our progressive allies organized more than 100 events around the country to urge Congress to act to prevent cuts to vital services and to make the richest Americans and wealthy corporations pay their fair share. Will you help us make sure Congress gets the message?
President LEE SAUNDERS & Secretary-Treasurer LAURA REYES