Thursday, February 28, 2013


Alternative to the So-Called Sequester
[Shared by the Brooklyn for Peace PEJ Committee]

Dear Members of Congress from the New York City metropolitan area:

We are writing to implore you to implement a common sense alternative to
the looming budget cuts of the so-called sequester. Our network of 49
labor, business, advocacy, and community organizations firmly believes our
government should not continue to lurch from crisis to crisis while putting
vulnerable Americans at repeated risk of losing what little they have at a
time of enormous income disparity and wage stagnation.

We urge you to focus instead on putting Americans back to work and
stimulating the economy rather than cutting spending, which would most
likely harm the economy as Europe’s austerity policies have amply
demonstrated.

As Senator Harkin has determined, the figures below show how much we can
save over ten years to avoid sequester cuts, create jobs, and protect vital
social programs on which millions of New Yorkers rely:

· End corporate tax breaks to shift jobs and profits overseas
($221-$606 billion)

· Close other corporate tax loopholes and special tax breaks ($162
billion)

· Place a small financial transaction tax on Wall Street trades ($353
billion)

· Limit income tax deductions for the richest 2 percent ($513 billion)

· Close loopholes that allow the wealthiest to shield income from
taxation ($1.5-$1.7 trillion)

· Place a modest surtax on incomes of the millionaires ($107-$453
billion)

· Allow the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare ($250
billion)

· Extend drug price discounts to low-income people on Medicare ($135
billion).

Together, these measures raise *$4.172 trillion* without placing the burden
of our country’s economic struggles on those who are least able to bear
them and who are in no way responsible for federal deficits or the economic
downturn. In addition, at the same time the military absorbed 57 percent
of the entire federal discretionary budget, the people of New York City
alone sent $4 billion to the U.S. government in 2012 that went to the war
in Afghanistan. For that money, we could have provided 726,913 college
students Pell grants or hired 47,505 schoolteachers.

As we have explained to Senator Schumer and Representatives Bishop,
Crowley, Israel, Jeffries, C. Maloney, McCarthy, Meng, and Rangel, and as
we discussed with Representative Nadler last year, we are counting on you
to stop budget cuts to social, education, and health programs and create
jobs instead. We urge you to close corporate and high-income tax loopholes
and put the defense budget at the core of spending reductions while
creating manufacturing and other jobs that can absorb displaced defense
sector workers.

Please be our champions and keep fighting for everyday New Yorkers.

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