National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of registered nurses, today expressed dismay and alarm over the federal budget deal announced yesterday, saying it will perpetuate the harmful effects of austerity, especially with so many in Main Street communities continuing to feel the painful effects of the Great Recession caused by Wall Street speculation.
“There is no reason to cheer an agreement that requires unwarranted pension cuts for federal workers, including VA nurses who earned that pension, underfunds nutrition programs and fails to extend assistance for the long-term unemployed,“ said NNU co-president Jean Ross, RN.
“Austerity budgeting, reflected in this latest deal, continues the disturbing focus by politicians in both parties in Washington, who should be fighting for jobs at living wages, restoration of the disgraceful cuts in food stamps, healthcare for all, housing assistance, and other human needs, not simply how to please Wall Street and the banks,” said Ross.
“For our patients and our communities, it is past time to replace cuts for workers with revenues from Wall Street to revive Main Street.”
Since federal workers have already provided $114 million in give backs toward deficit reduction, it is especially egregious to single them out for further sacrifice, Ross said.
The mainstream policy consensus among economists and institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, is that austerity in the form of budget cuts and the lack of spending to stimulate the economy, results in high unemployment with direct negative consequences on individual and public health.
A failure to provide living wage jobs now will result in a long-term reduction labor force participation; with one-in-five American children in poverty, inequality at all time high, and the culprit well known – Wall Street speculation – NNU demands a real alternative to austerity: A Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street.
A small tax on Wall Street trades – targeted to the speculation in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currencies that fuel record profits for the finance sector and high-incomes for the 1% – as in HR 1579 would provide the revenue for good jobs, secure retirement, and an end to hunger and poverty. Learn more at www.robinhoodtax.org.
“The sham of the present debate in Washington, DC, is that real fiscal solutions to slow growth and high unemployment, hunger, disease and poverty exist, but have been taken off the table by lobbyists for Wall Street,” said Ross. “It’s time Congress proves to the American people that Wall Street doesn’t run our government.”