Tax break for undocumented immigrants pushed by California Democrats

The California state budget could extend a tax break to low-income families of undocumented immigrants.

Assembly Democrats want Gov. Jerry Brown to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit in such a way that people who do not have Social Security numbers can apply for it.

The proposal is meant to help poor Californians recover some of their state income tax. Last year, a household with two children and an adjusted gross income of up to $22,309 would have been eligible for a tax credit. The maximum credit for a family of that size is $2,467, according to the Franchise Tax Board.

The Assembly plan would expand eligibility to people with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. They’re tax-processing numbers the IRS uses to collect tax from people who do not have Social Security numbers. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Questions for Someone Who Supports Superior Benefits for Government Workers

“Without disputing the figures, Monique Morrissey, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., said the findings are misleading because they do not compare specific classes of employees or account for differences in education levels and total hours worked.”
California Is Golden State For Public Employees, by Michael Carroll, AMI Newswire, Jan. 31, 2017

Ms. Morrissey has a point, even though there was no intent to “mislead.” While our recent study “California’s Public Sector Compensation Trends,” found that full-time public sector workers in California earn pay and benefits that average at least twice as high as their counterparts in the private sector, going into comparisons by specific class of employee was beyond the scope of that particular study. But Ms. Morrissey is missing the forest for the trees.

First of all, as acknowledged in Carroll’s article where Morrissey is quoted, the study found that California’s public employees earn pay and benefits that average 39 percent higher than their public sector counterparts in the rest of the U.S. So especially in California, we conclude there are two classes of workers – public sector workers, whose 2015 pay and benefits averaged $139,691 for full-time work (if you properly fund their pensions), and private sector workers, who, very best case, earned pay and benefits that averaged $62,475.

Everybody knows that public sector workers have, on average, higher levels of education than private sector workers. Should this translate into average (and median, by the way) total earnings that are twice what all private sector workers receive? It challenges credulity.

Ms. Morrissey’s biography states, “She is active in coalition efforts to reform our private retirement system to ensure an adequate, secure,and affordable retirement for all workers.” Bravo. That is a goal we share. And so in the spirit of aligning ourselves with practical, feasible, equitable objectives towards achieving that goal, Ms. Morrissey is invited to answer the following questions:

(1)  Do you think what public sector pensions (ref. CalPERS, the largest) pay to California’s government retirees should be three to five times what Social Security offers private sector retirees?

CalPERS pensions

(2)  The average current retiree pension – not including retirement health benefits – for a state/local government worker with 30 years of service is $67,762 per year (click on any pension system to see average per former employer). There are 10 million Californians over the age of 55, 25 percent of the total population. If all of them received a pension of $67,762 per year, that would cost $677 billion dollars, 32 percent of California’s aggregate personal income of $2.1 trillion. Do you think people who are retired should collect state-funded pensions worth more on average than the earnings of people who work? Do you think this is feasible?

(3) Defenders of unaltered state/local government pension benefits in California argue that pension benefits are primarily paid for via investment returns. But they claim investment returns can average 7.5 percent per year (4.5 percent after adjusting for inflation), “risk free.” Are YOU, Ms. Morrissey, willing to personally guarantee that MY retirement investments will earn this much? Because if you are, I’ll invest every penny I’ve got with you.

(4) Our “apples-to-apples” comparison of California’s new “Secure Choice” pension option for private citizens yielded the following comparisons: (a) Public sector: Teachers/Bureaucrats, 30 years work – pension is 75 percent of final salary. (b) Public sector: Public Safety, 30 years work – pension is 90 percent of final salary. (c) Private sector: “Secure Choice,” 30 years work – pension is 27.6 percent of final salary. Do you think this disparity is fair to private sector workers?

(5) Can you explain why public sector pensions are not subject to the same conservative funding and investing rules as private sector pensions are under ERISA?

(6) Do you support government programs that offer ALL American workers the SAME retirement benefits, subject to the SAME formulas and incentives, or not?

In reference to our recent CPC study, Ms. Morrissey is also on record as saying, “There have been a lot of attacks on public-sector unions because their members have been a stalwart voting block for the Democratic Party, but that doesn’t mean they’re overpaid.” This remark suggests Ms. Morrissey thinks nonpartisan “attacks” on government unions aren’t justifiable and won’t happen. That is incorrect.

Government unions, unlike private sector unions, have the ability to negotiate for financially unsustainable pay and benefits because they control their bosses through campaign contributions, because their bosses are politicians instead of business people, and because these pay and benefit packages are paid for through coercive taxes instead of via allocations of precarious profits.

Government unions have created two tiers of workers in this country. Government workers not only have unaffordable pay and retirement security, but their union leaders have an incentive to support government policies that destabilize and divide this nation, because that will create the need for even more unionized government workers. Government unions, intrinsically, are economically damaging and politically authoritarian.

“Unsustainable” means that sooner or later an end will come. When the money is gone, Morrissey and her gang will have a lot more questions to answer.

Ed Ring is the director of policy research for the California Policy Center.

Government Workers in CA Make TWICE as Much as Private Sector Workers

money bagOn Tuesday, the California Policy Center released a study that provided facts about government compensation. It examined state and local payroll data provided online by the California State Controller and proved that the average pay and benefits for a full-time state/local government employee in 2015 was $121,843.

At the same time, the study found that the average pay and benefits for a full-time private sector worker in California in 2015 was half that much, $62,475.

Moreover, the study found that if the pensions these state/local workers have been promised were being properly funded, their actual pay and benefits in 2015 would have averaged $139,691. And that elevated figure still didn’t take into account the impact of properly pre-funding their supplemental retirement health care, nor did it normalize for their myriad paid days off – typically including 14 paid holidays, 12 “personal days” and 20 or more vacation days as they acquire seniority. And let’s not forget the “9/80” program, common in California government but virtually unheard of in the private sector, where public sector salaried professionals can skip a few lunches and show up a few minutes early or depart a few minutes late each workday, and take 26 additional days a year off with pay because, every two weeks, they worked “nine hour days for nine days, then took the tenth day off.”

If you’re not counting, that adds up to 72 days off per year with pay for a seasoned public sector professional. The study didn’t take that into account.

Similarly, the study had to assume that fully 50 percent of full time private sector workers in California are getting excellent comprehensive health care coverage 100 percent paid for by their employer, a 3 percent employer matching payment to a 401K retirement savings account, along with making employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare (and even that does not occur for the millions of independent contractors working full-time in California). But the study made the 50 percent assumption just to ensure that the average, $62,475 per year, was not understated.

Finally please note that in the public sector, the study found that the differences between “average” and “median” total compensation are negligible, with the median often actually exceeding the average. Not true in the private sector, where the impact of ultra-wealthy individuals truly skews the average well above the median.

So welcome to Feudal California, where crippling taxes and regulations are destroying the middle class, while a burgeoning dependent class pays no taxes, and hence votes for every tax proposal they see. Welcome to Feudal California, where the super rich support policies designed to create asset bubbles that make them richer, and don’t care about taxes because they’re so rich they can pay them.

It’s not enough to merely point out the fact that government workers make twice as much as ordinary workers in California, and that the gap is widening. The problem is that the unions who represent government workers control policy in California, and those policies are the reason that private sector workers can’t get ahead. Every major policy in effect or being contemplated in California is designed to raise the cost-of-living, and while the private sector middle class is crushed, the unionized government workers make twice as much, which is enough to survive.

At the same time, the challenges posed by a high cost-of-living are almost entirely regressive, harming the poor disproportionately. It doesn’t matter to a wealthy person if their gasoline costs $2.50 vs. $4.50 per gallon, or their electricity costs $.04 per KWH vs. $.40 per KWH. It doesn’t matter to them if a home costs $150,000 or $650,000. They’re rich. They can afford it.

So instead of fighting to lower the cost-of-living, California’s wealthy elite makes common cause with government unions, working to create artificial scarcity. This creates asset bubbles that translate into more property tax revenue for governments, more investment returns for the pension funds, and gilds the portfolios of the wealthy. And if anyone objects, they’re “deniers.”

California’s elites – wealthy individuals and their government union allies – have cleverly employed the politics of race, gender, and environmentalism to enthrall millions. California’s citizens, by and large, have become convinced that identity grievances and extreme environmentalism matter more than the fact they are in debt to their eyeballs, living from paycheck to paycheck. In a brilliant inversion of reality, these feudal overlords have actually convinced Californians to attribute the reasons for their poverty on race and gender discrimination, rather than economic policies that have made it nearly impossible for anyone to be upwardly mobile – regardless of their race or gender.

The public sector union leadership that runs California is incorrigible. They have bribed their members, and they have convinced their victims to enthusiastically support a political agenda that itself is the real reason they are victims.

Ed Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

Government Hypocrisy: “Save More”

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

American government is so ubiquitous it even offers advice about New Year’s resolutions. However, its guidance to citizens mainly illustrates ideas government violates. Consider one example from the About USA.gov site: “Save more.”

That is not a very controversial resolution for an uncertain world. But the massive and still growing government debt and its far larger unfunded liabilities makes it the largest violator of its own resolution. Talk about “do as I say, not as I do.” Further, the main reason people save too little is that government does so much that discourages saving and investment, making the Hippocratic oath –“First, do no harm” — a better means to increase savings.

One huge illustration is Social Security. People have been led to substitute its “contributions” and retirement benefits for funds they would have saved to finance their “golden years.” Its promises also dramatically exceed what funds will be available, making people anticipate richer retirements than they will actually have, reducing savings more. Those who save enough to provide well for retirement also face income taxes on most of their Social Security benefits as well.

Social Security exacerbates the adverse effects of budget deficits, which divert funds that would have added investment into government spending.

Taxes on capital reduce the after-tax return on saving and investment, also reducing saving. These include property taxes that, while relatively small percentages of the capital value, represent sizable fractions of annual income generated. Then state and federal (and sometimes local) corporate taxes take further bites from after-tax returns. The implicit “tax” imposed by regulatory burdens must also be borne before earnings can reach investors.

Personal income taxes at up to three levels of government reduce saving further. Investment income left after other taxes is taxed again if paid out as dividends.  Earnings from saving and investment can also trigger additional tax burdens by triggering phase-outs of income tax deductions and exemptions.

If investment earnings are retained and reinvested, increasing asset values, they are taxed as capital gains. And even increases in asset values from inflation are taxed as real increases in wealth.

Medicare, whose unfunded liabilities are far greater than Social Security’s, reduces incentives to save for future medical costs. Current earners, forced to cover three quarters of the cost, are left with less to save. Medicaid coverage of nursing home costs only after other assets are virtually exhausted undermines another savings motive.

Unemployment benefits, along with food stamps and other poverty programs, also reduce the need for a nest egg, “just in case.” And as illustrated by so many disasters and crises, government steps in to assist those who “need” it, reducing the incentives for financial self-responsibility.

Estate taxes also reduce successful savers’ ability to pass on assets as bequests, eroding another savings motive. And monetary policy that has long kept interest rates near zero have undermined incentives to save as well.

Together, these government policies punish savings heavily, resulting in large numbers without appreciable savings. But fixing that saving problem doesn’t require government to tell us to resolve to save more. It doesn’t require ever more government intervention to “solve” a problem its existing interventions have created. It only requires a government resolution to stop aggressively undermining incentives to save as it does now.

Gary M. Galles is a research fellow with the Independent Institute in Oakland, and a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His books include Lines of Liberty (2015), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014), and Apostle of Peace (2013).

Who actually pays their “fair share” of taxes?

In recent years, claims that “the rich” don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes have been repeated countless times. But that excuse to tax them more to line others’ pockets is blown away whenever the highly disproportionate income tax burdens borne by higher earners are reported. As the Wall Street Journal titled a recent article,“Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax.” In fact, the top 1 percent of American earners earn about one-sixth of total income, but pay nearly as much in income taxes as everyone else combined.

Rather than abandon the electorally valuable false premise that such disproportionate burdens are justified, however, the political Left rallies to its cause. They try to rescue it by asserting that other taxes are regressive, so that taxes aren’t “really” so clearly unjustifiable as income tax burdens reveal. The featured players in that drama are state and local sales and excise taxes and Social Security taxes. Unfortunately, those taxes are also misrepresented to defend “fair share” misrepresentations.

Columnist Michael Hiltzik illustrated the state and local gambit in a tax-day column echoing charges that their sales and excise taxes “disproportionately hammer lower-income taxpayers,” with that alleged regressivity offsetting income tax unfairness.

That claim arises because those with lower current measured incomes spend a larger proportion of them on those taxes. However, as Edgar Browning has noted, “relative to lifetime income, there is very little difference in the percentage of income consumed among income classes.” As a result, apparent regressivity using current incomes is shown instead as “roughly proportional” to income in the more-appropriate lifetime context. Low current-income families also consume a multiple of their income, largely financed with government transfer payments excluded from income measures. That further exaggerates the share of their incomes going to such taxes.

The Social Security angle was illustrated in a Washington Post story a few days earlier. It argued that since Social Security taxes only apply to earned incomes up to $118,500, “the more money you make, the less your effective Social Security tax rate is, making this tax about as regressive as they come.” However, Social Security treats lower income workers far better than higher income workers.

Rather than being regressive, Social Security taxes are proportional to earned income up to the tax cap. So, for the vast majority of Americans who fall in that range, taxes rise apace with income. Beyond the cap, earnings are not subject to the tax. So for those earners, their average tax rates fall with further income. Only for them can one claim that despite paying more in total Social Security taxes, they pay a smaller percentage.

When one incorporates the fact that a great deal of income for low income households is government transfers that are not counted as official income nor subject to Social Security taxes, the picture changes. Years ago, the CBO found that incorporating such unmeasured income actually made Social Security taxes progressive for all but the top 20 percent of earners.

Even more important, Social Security’s supposed regressivity reflects only its taxes. But they generate retirement benefits, and evaluation must incorporate both. Doing so reveals Social Security as progressive.

For example, for a single earner retiring at 65 in 1993, Social Security replaced 59 percent of taxed income for low earners, 44 percent for average wage earners, but only 25 percent for an earner at the Social Security tax cutoff. Higher income earners received far smaller return on their contributions than average earners, and less than half that of lower earners. Taxation of benefits for higher income retirees now increases this difference. In terms of lifetime net benefits, in 1992 dollars, a single low earner retiring in 2000 would net $27,983 from the system, an average earner, $14,833, but a high income earner would lose $23,129.

Both approaches show Social Security does not benefit higher earners at the expense of lower earners. It actually redistributes income the other way.

Allegations that higher income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes are a mainstay misrepresentation of the political left. And when facts such as income tax burdens get in the way, they double down with a defense that misrepresents state and local taxes and Social Security, as well. Unfortunately, that illustrates how important taking other peoples’ money is to their agenda and how unimportant the truth is in advancing it.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University 

BURNING MONEY: Congressman Publishes 10 Most Atrocious Examples Of Government Waste

Sen. Tom Coburn’s legacy of exposing the worst of the federal government’s waste in his annual report may have a new man to carry the torch.

Freshman Republican Rep. Steve Russell laid out 10 of the worst instances of government waste Tuesday in his first “Waste Watch” publication, the Washington Examiner reports. The waste totaled more than $117 million and ranged across several government agencies. Coburn’s wastebook became famous for exposing government waste, but he retired at the end of the last session.

Here are Russell’s top 10 examples of terrible government waste.

1. U.S. Builds Melting Walls

The U.S. military spent $456,669 on a training facility in Afghanistan that melted when it rained. The military had the “dry fire range” built to use as a training spot with Afghan special police, but since the structure was built with bricks made mostly of sand, it only took four months for the walls to disintegrate in the rain.

2. Uncle Sam Pays For Contractors To Party Like It’s 1999

International Relief and Development, a nonprofit contractor that received about $2 billion in federal money to rebuild struggling countries, threw multiple lavish get-togethers that totaled $1.1 million. It billed the federal government for the parties – which included spa treatments, crystal chandeliers and a private zoo – saying they were for “training” and “staff morale.”

3. The Federal Government Accidentally Funded An Anti-U.S. Movie

In 2013, the U.S. embassy in Iraq paid for five Iraqi filmmakers to fly to the states for film classes at UCLA. As part of the program the students received a stipend to fund their own movie. One of the students, Salam Salman, focused his film on the 2007 shooting of 17 Iraqis by the U.S. private security company, Blackwater, an incident that hurt America’s reputation in Iraq.

4. More Explanation Needed For Big Payouts To Afghan Government

The Department of State gave the Afghan government $100 million in 2014 to help it close a budget shortfall that the Afghan leadership said was dire. Critics have blasted the department for failing to explain if the money was necessary and if the department will do it again. The funding of projects in Afghanistan has been rife with waste for years.

5. Storing Way Too Much Stuff For Way Too Much Money

The Department of Defense spent $15.4 million in 2013 to store millions of cubic feet of equipment that no one in the military needed for five years. Some of these items could be useful but much of it is outdated or costs more to store than it would cost to simply throw out and buy a new one. For example, one component of a power mast worth $391 cost the DOD more than $8,000 to store.

6. Feds Help Amateur Filmmakers Use Video Games

The National Science Foundation shelled out almost $700,000 to help amateur filmmakers create movies by using 3D characters in virtual worlds. The goal was to reduce the barriers to learning the technical skills involved. At least it sounds fun.

7. Government Teaches Conflict Resolution Skills To Moroccan Teens

The United States Agency for International Development dropped $559,000 in the last two years to teach teenagers in Morocco “public speaking, team building, and conflict mitigation techniques” in the hopes of reducing extremism. How effective this will be at reducing Islamic extremism is unknown.

8. A Lot Of Dead People Are Still On Social Security

About 6.5 million social security accounts belong to people who are at least 112 years old, which means all but a few are dead. Although the Social Security Administration sent few payments to these accounts, active accounts exemplify issues with record keeping for deceased individuals that are ripe for abuse by scammers who can continue claiming the benefits for the dead person and impersonate them to defraud other agencies.

9. The Environmental Protection Agency Spent Big To Track How Much Water You Use In Hotel Showers

The EPA spent $15,000 to create a system to track how much water each hotel guest uses during their stay. The hope is to encourage people to conserve more water when they see their consumption on a smart phone app.

 10. Missile Defense Agency Jumped The Gun And Overpayed Big Time

The MDA overpaid for a big contract by $11 million dollars even after an auditor warned it there could be problems. An auditor told the agency there was $200 million in questionable costs and needed more time to finish the audit before it should sign the deal. The audit was five days from revealing the massive waste, but the impatient agency went ahead and agreed anyway, a costly mistake.

Read the full report here.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Allowing a market in health care

In 1965, Medicare was passed as an amendment to the Social Security Act and the government became the primary payer for medical care for all those over 65. With the stroke of a pen, a health care system that had been centered on individualized care was transformed into at system about population management fervently fixated on cost containment.

At the time it was clear that Congress appreciated its limitations. It acknowledged a physician’s professional expertise and the value of the sacrosanct patient/doctor relationship. Congress memorialized this acknowledgement in Section 1801 of the Medicare Act as follows:

Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine, or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any officer, or employee, or any institution, agency or person providing health care services. …  Section 1801, Medicare Act, 1965

Since then, Congress has relentlessly imposed themselves into the exam room and interfered with our opportunity to do what is best for our patients in the name of controlling cost. Government regulations and computer systems designed to invade the privacy of our patients and send bad data back to the government eat away at any semblance of physician autonomy. Repeatedly and assuredly, government intrusion has only led to confusion, wasted resources and added cost.

The concept of Balanced Billing allows the government or any third party payer to pay a fixed dollar amount for a service. The patient pays the difference between the retail price and the “subsidy” paid by the government. Physicians compete and patient choice is preserved. It is a fair market place with a subsidized floor. Balanced Billing was made illegal in 1984 under the Deficit Reduction Act.

The Physician Fee Schedule was established in the late 1980s in an attempt to control the cost of care. Instead, costs escalated and the volume of services continued to increase as would be expected when the fixed cost of managing a physician practice is well over 70 percent.

The SGR was established in 1997 under the Balanced Budget Act, tying physician payments to the GDP. The SGR formula was contrived to ensure that the (increased) Medicare dollars spent per patient was less than the per capita increase in the GDP.

The SGR has proven to be an ineffective means of controlling cost. Every year Congress finds itself with a choice to cut physician payments substantially or “give the physician community a loan.” This is only a budget gimmick serving as a noose around our neck compelling our professional community to allow the government to reduce our discretion as experts and to limit patient choice.

The bottom line: Health care costs continue to skyrocket, patients have fewer choices and physicians find themselves serving the public more as slaves than professionals.

Americans properly expect a trusting relationship with their doctor. However, together with Obamacare, Congress is proposing to further intrude into their medical care. Masquerading as a “fix” to another failed congressional Medicare system of price controls, congress has written the SGR reform bill that serves to create a penalty system that will force doctors to follow government cookbooks and ration care. The SGR reform bill is another contrived financing system that fails to provide quality, affordable health care to the greatest number of Americans.

We are left with a tireless array of manufactured financial systems that serve to address large populations rather than individuals. Failure to allow our patients to voluntarily privately contract and own their lives denies them the privilege of choice.

Congress has decided it is time to get the SGR off its plate. We applaud the decision. In the spirit of limited government, a healthy economy and the First Amendment, America’s physicians ask that Congress do the right thing and finally get out of the exam room and allow America’s physicians to work for our patients and do our job.

Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, MD FACEP, CoChair, National Physicians Council for Healthcare Policy 

Election Nears, Republicans Go Soft On Social Security

With the Senate potentially within the Republicans’ grasp, some GOP candidates are flip-flopping on how they view Social Security, the Washington Examiner reports.

The ads, run by Crossroads GPS, have appeared in North Carolina, Arkansas, and California, and show Republican candidates aggressively defending Social Security and attacking Democratic opposition.

Georgia is a prominent example, in which the National Republican Campaign Committee viscerally attacked Democratic Rep. John Barrow for “leaving Georgia seniors behind.” Republicans at this hour in the game are gunning for electoral support from the more senior demographic. Seniors reliably turn out at a higher rate to the polls in non-presidential elections than other groups.

According to the polls, both parties appear to support Social Security, but how the Republicans will manage entitlements in light of priorities of fiscal responsibility remains to be seen if they take a majority in one or both chambers. Allegations of hypocrisy have been flying since the incident in Georgia, as Democratic opposition to Social Security, according to Democrats, is part of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson plan. In other words, Republicans are supposed to agree to raise taxes, and Democrats will in turn agree to reduce spending, to bring down the $17.9 trillion dollar national debt.

A former Republican senator from New Hampshire struck back against the few Republicans trying to trap opponents in an awkward position.

“It really is inappropriate for Republicans to attack people who stand up for entitlement reforms, especially hard reforms to Social Security and Medicare along the lines of what Simpson-Bowles proposes,” Judd Gregg told The Washington Post.

However, some Republicans point out that the whole issue is completely overblown in the first place—nothing more than an election ploy. The campaign against the Bowles-Simpson plan isn’t gaining any ground and is relegated to a few states, where Democrats, too, have broken the bargain. In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu has criticized her opponent for wanting to raise the retirement age.

“Entitlement reform has always been the most difficult piece of the debt-reduction equation,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, noting how politically fraught and heated the issue is around election time.

This article was originally published on the Daily Caller News Foundation

Liberal groups threaten Dem leaders that want to work with GOP on Social Security

From the Blaze:

The hope many had that those in American politics would move forward more cohesively following the climatic debt ceiling debate over the summer, appears to be at a standstill and perhaps faltering. Congressional leaders on the deficit “super committee” charged to find at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction through 2021 by November 23  are yet to make a joint recommendation as their deadline quickly approaches. The Hill now reports that liberal groups are applying pressure and threatening former Democratic presidential candidate and deficit super committee member Sen. John Kerry, as well as any other Democrats who they suspect are working with Republicans to find a middle ground on entitlement reform as a part of deficit reductions.

“The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and other labor entities in the state have passed resolutions calling on Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) to publicly oppose cuts to safety-net programs,” writes The Hill. Concerns from liberal activists grew after a proposal emerged from Democrats on the super committee, which has already been rejected by the GOP, that proposed cuts to Social Security cost-of-living increases (COLA) as part of a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal that included $1.3 trillion in tax increases.

(Read Full Article)

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