Labor groups rally against spending cuts in fiscal cliff ads
November 20th, 2012
09:30 AM ET
10 years ago

Labor groups rally against spending cuts in fiscal cliff ads

(CNN) - Several major labor unions joined together to release an ad campaign this week pushing members of Congress to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans and protect entitlement programs from major cuts as a solution to the looming fiscal cliff, the groups announced Tuesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association say they're spending $300,000 on an initial TV and radio buy for the ad campaign, according to a high ranking labor official. Combined, the three labor groups have more than 6.7 million members.

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Congress faces an end-of-the-year deadline to find a deficit-reduction deal in order to avert an enormous amount of tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in next year, also known as the fiscal cliff. At issue is a disagreement over how to best raise revenues. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats argue for tax rate increase on the wealthiest Americans in order to raise revenue, while House Republicans call for the closing of loopholes and reform in the tax code.

Both parties have indicated a willingness to implement spending cuts, although a decision over how much and where has yet to be made.

In the upcoming week, the labor unions' commercials will appear in states with Democratic senators considered by some on the left as potentially more willing to support some major spending cuts that the unions would oppose.

The groups specifically caution against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education.

"If you are in the DC area and watching the Cowboys v. Redskins pre-game, you'll see the ad," the official told CNN. "If you are in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Missouri or even Alaska and you are watching the Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving or College football on Saturday, there's a good chance you will see the ad. And if you are online shopping or listening to the radio on Black Friday, the ad will be there too."

The television ads specifically urge voters to call Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall in Colorado, Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia, and Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri. The radio ads, meanwhile, target Reps. Patrick Meehan and Michael Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania, Rep. Don Young in Alaska at Large and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in Missouri.

"There's a debate going on in Washington about the best way to move the country forward and reduce the deficit. But there's one thing that both parties can agree on: We shouldn't raise taxes on the middle class. But if Congress fails to act soon, that's exactly what will happen," the narrator in the radio ad says.

"Middle class families can't afford that. And our economy can't afford that, either," the narrators continues. "Congress should act quickly to preserve the middle class tax cuts. And that will take leaders willing to put people ahead of partisan politics."

The new ads come as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has also run television ads, educating viewers on the fiscal cliff issue and arguing to keep "Medicare and Social Security strong for generations to come."

Last week, President Barack Obama sat down with Congressional leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for a first round of negotiations.

Days earlier, the president met with leaders of the business community, as well as unions and progressive groups, to discuss the fiscal cliff and various options. In the session with labor and progressives, the president delivered a "strong" and "determined" defense of his intent to allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire while preserving cuts for middle-income earners, according to conversations with several who attended.

– CNN's Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report.

Filed under: Ads • Fiscal Cliff • Medicare • Social Security
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. rla

    And now the takers come out of the wood work and now lets see if the progressive democrats just give the country away to them!!!! It would be nice to see a strong democratic leader but they want power and the nation be dammed

    November 20, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Why do some people want someone else to pay for their follies. Raising Taxes on the Wealthy is the surest way to gurantee continued High Unemployment. A simple Formula: Repeal Obama Care Lock, Stock, and Barrel, and extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least another 10 years. A lot of businesses have learned to get by with less workers so jobs will come back slowly. Over Taxing the Job Creators and raising the National Debt to pay for it is a bad formula.

    November 20, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. HenryMiller

    So, once again, Big Labour demonstrates its utter willingness to screw American taxpayers.

    November 20, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Tommy G

    The same leftist model of take, take, take, demand, demand, demand no matter what the cost to the country or company. The unions sucked Hostess and GM dry and put them out of business. They have done it in several states as well. Now their last great target is the country. They do not know how to make or create, just take and destroy. Welcome to the fundamentally changed America Obama promised. I hope you like poverty.

    November 20, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Can The rich can pay little more?sure they can. Can the old retire two years later then planed? Sure they can. Can american stand to loose not getting that mortage intrest? I think so. Oh and that child credit,can we slash that in half? You see poeple its all give and take.

    November 20, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Right wing media's Hamster cage ideology says, "Let's cut spending on jobs for teachers, policemen, fire fighters and other civil servants holding middle class jobs so that we can create growth and middle class jobs."


    Ray E. (Georgia) wrote:

    "....A simple Formula: Repeal Obama Care Lock, Stock, and Barrel, and extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least another 10 years. ...."
    If the Bush Tax Cuts were such good economic policy, then why did we experience the Great Recession? If the Bush Tax Cuts are such a good solution to our current problems, then why haven't we seen faster recovery? If Pres. Obama's economic policies are so bad, maybe its' because of continuing the Bush Tax Cuts.

    November 20, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    They said we will fight back , we won’t allowed 2010 repeat again

    November 20, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Dean

    Reducing and restructuring entitlements is the only way this country will survive.

    November 20, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Ed1

    I have a great idea why don't we spend what we have and not what we don't.

    That would solve the cliff problem. I thought the American people would have learned after four years of Obama over spending that he would not have been re-elected guess not now you have to live with it for another four years.
    To stop the out of control spending guess you didn't listen the Congress we have now was elected two years ago and we will have them another two years at least some people listened. time to shut up and stop being Santa Clause to the 30% of the people who don't want to work but live off our tax dollars.

    The congress we have now was elected two years ago and we will have them another two years at least some people listened.

    November 20, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Steve, New York City

    J'Cincinnati'Redd – yes I agree that tax rates should go up – but they should also be fair.
    Someone making $250,000 a year, and paying a 35% marginal tax rate is not the same thing as a super-rich person making $10 million a year, but paying 15% b/c the latter is dividend and interest income. Washington stupidly lumps these two individuals into the same category. Washington also bluntly ignores substantial regional differences in the cost of living. Yes – the tax system should be more fair – but it also shouldn't destroy the first person's chance at earning a decent living, while multimillionaires just get a slap on the wrist. Warren Buffet's more recent, nuanced Buffet Rules seem to get this right.

    November 20, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Rudy NYC


    I have a great idea why don't we spend what we have and not what we don't.
    That's a great idea, one that I agree with. The problem is that most of our current spending has been set in law by previous administrations, or policies enacted by previous administrations like wars that cost $3B per week and last a decade.

    Do you know how much, by what percentage, actual federal spending has increased under Pres. Obama? Federal spending has increased by only 1.4%, which is less than inflation, from four years ago. The deficits are mostly a result of decreased revenue due to high unemployment and tax policies. In other words, there is more of a revenue problem than a spending problem.

    November 20, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Data Driven

    Some Georgia Peach here was talking about repealing Obamacare and extending the Bush Tax Cuts for another 10 years. Yes! Because rich parasites sucking the wealth out of the country and untrammelled health insurance companies wiped out the national debt and created 1 trillion jobs in the previous decade! Yee-haw!

    Rather, let's end Federal subsidies to bloated petroleum cartels and make millionaires pay a liitle more taxes on their immense personal wealth.

    November 20, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Letty

    Thats a real shocker. Unions always want to live off the rest of us on money we have to borrow. I am so happy to live in a right to work state where I do not have to deal with unions. I do not and have never invested in airlines and auto companies for that specific reason – they kill business & profit. I can think of only one airline that was ever worth investing in and money was safer elsewhere. Unions are a major reason our manufacturing regions are so decimated as corporations found out years ago- why bother when you can manafacture it overseas without the US unions. Its not coming back either.

    November 20, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Larry in Houston

    @ Tommy G & Ray E (Georgia) are you guys sure you're on the right posts ? This is CNN, not the "F" word news channel. You guys can take your right wing agendas where it's most welcome.

    November 20, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Ray E. (Georgia)

    For your info the Economic Near Collapse at the end of the Bush Adminstration wasn't caused by the Bush Tax Cuts. It was because of the Housing Bubble where the Liberal's in Congress forced the rules to be slakened so everybody and his brither could qualify for a housing loan without any thing to back it up except hot air. So, what happened? When the regular payments kicked in for the Housing Loan nobody had the canones to pay. But, many of you still blame Bush for the near disaster. Now you expect miracles from the So Called Rich people. Better grab another gear because the rich are all tapped out. It's called reality.

    November 20, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The right wing talking point of higher taxes on the wealthy will lead to higher unemployment is a farce and they know it. We have evidence(The Clinton Era) to prove their claim as false. None of them can seem to answer the question of how many jobs were created due to the Bush Tax Cuts. These businesses are waging war on unions and it's only right that unions fight back. How will business like it if all their workers walked out on them?

    November 20, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |