Nation’s largest nurses’ union urges Obama to oppose cuts to social programs

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, July 7, 2011 10:33 EDT
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The National Nurses United (NNU) union said Thursday that it strongly opposed further cuts to social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and urged the president to join them.

Instead of cutting social programs to solve the nation’s deficit woes, they hope President Barack Obama will hold fast to the former Republican plan that would have allowed Bush-era tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to expire last year — a plan Republicans unified against once the president announced his support.

“America has the wealth to end the despair and deprivation,” NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in an advisory. “To reclaim this nation, we have to start by making Wall Street pay to undo the damage that has caused immeasurable suffering while the high rollers on Wall Street, who created this crisis, are rewarded with bailouts, bonuses, tax cuts, and regulatory rollbacks.”

Republicans have been holding the U.S. debt limit extension hostage in Congress, pressing the potential for a government default in August. During the Bush administration, those same lawmakers voted 19 times in favor of increasing the nation’s debt limit, ramping it up by nearly $4 trillion to support the wars and other new spending, virtually all of which was handled on credit.

If the government defaults, America’s credit worthiness would be significantly impacted. Many economists warn that it could spark another global financial crisis of greater magnitude than the 2008 credit collapse, which led to President George W. Bush initiating the massive bank bailouts.

In spite of the nurses’ demands, President Obama was poised Thursday to offer significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, according to a published report. In exchange, he will call upon Republicans to end Bush-era tax rates for wealthy Americans and close corporate tax loopholes — things they’ve insisted are off the table.

Corporate tax rates are at an all-time low in the U.S., even though profits are up nearly 60 percent over the last 10 years. Through the use of loopholes and offshore accounts, many corporations — like General Electric — don’t pay any taxes at all on billions in profits.

Republicans insist this is necessary so that profits will “trickle down” to low income Americans in the form of new jobs, but their economic strategy has been largely discredited as U.S. corporations ship more and more jobs overseas.

“America’s nurses see and feel broad declines in health and living standards for their patients and their own families that are directly tied to the collapse in jobs, housing, healthcare, and other basics of what used to be called the American dream,” NNU co-president Deborah Burger said in a release. “Nurses are calling for a change in priorities because they have seen enough, and want to stop the bleeding now.”

Image credit: Flickr commons.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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