Detroit’s below freezing temperatures and gray winter skies didn’t deter a group of union and community activists from gathering downtown in front a Chase Bank to build support to ensure that corporate special interests like Chase pay their fair share in taxes.
Thursday's action was just one of more than 100 events in a national day of action urging Congress to avert the $85 billion in arbitrary, across-the-board sequestration cuts in everything from mental health services to public safety, scheduled to take effect March 1.
The sequestration is another Republican-manufactured fiscal crisis and Republicans have indicated they want to use the sequester as leverage to demand benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
At the actions, workers stressed that the arbitrary cuts can be easily averted if the wealthy and big corporations are asked to pay their fair share. About half the cuts alone can be prevented if Congress were to enact the “Buffett Rule,” which would require people who make at least $2 million a year pay a minimum tax just slightly above the tax bracket of millions of middle-class Americans. This would raise $54 billion or nearly two-thirds of the scheduled across-the-board cuts on March 1.
In Detroit, Ronnie Rosner, an unemployed certified paralegal, said:
Every few weeks we experience a new financial crisis manufactured by Republicans. If they were really serious about cutting the deficit, they would make big corporations pay their fair share. Chase is just one example of an even larger problem.
Ashley E. Forsberg, a registered nurse from Lansing, Mich., said, “Wall Street banks like Chase and CEOs got us into this mess and they should pay their share to help get us out of it.
Corporations don’t need a safety net—the working people of Michigan do. There’s no way we should even think about cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare while corporations just get richer.
In Albany, N.Y., Rep. Paul D. Tonko (D) joined with activists in calling for a repeal of the sequester cuts and closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy. Betty Head of MoveOn.org said:
The middle class should not bear the brunt of any further deficit reduction while the richest Americans contribute a little and big corporations pay nothing. This type of policy is neither sane, fair, balanced or, I might add, in the long-term interests of our country as a strong player on the world stage.
In Pittsburgh, workers rallied outside a Head Start Center to spotlight dangers the sequester would inflict in early childhood education programs.
Mike Hall is a senior writer for the AFL-CIO.