AFL-CIO Sees Exit Poll Ammo In Push to Protect Entitlements
A survey commissioned by the labor group showed that by 64 to 17 percent, voters want to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and address the deficit by increasing taxes on the rich, rather than address the deficit by cutting entitlements, according to Guy Molyneux, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Hart was commissioned to conduct the study on behalf of the labor group.
"There was a very precise message from this election," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters. "With their votes, working families made clear they want solutions that respect hard work, strengthen the middle class, invest in America and build upon working together, not driving people apart."
The AFL-CIO is launching a post-election advocacy campaign to urge Democrats to stand their ground over social safety net programs. Lawmakers and the White House are gearing up for negotiations to try to head off $500 billion in tax hikes and automatic spending cuts that could hit the economy early next year if no deal is struck to head them off. Many analysts believe the talks on the so-called fiscal cliff during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress could tee up lengthier negotiations on a grand bargain that potentially might involve a combination of revenue increases and reductions in the rate of growth of entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.
"Starting tomorrow - yes, I said tomorrow - working families across the country will be out in communities at close to one hundred events to talk to members of Congress about the coming lame duck session and fiscal showdown," Trumka said. Activists will send the message to our elected leaders that it's time we say 'no" to benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and 'yes' to fair taxes on the wealthiest two percent."
The Hart survey also found that by a margin of 55 to 38 percent, voters want to end the Bush-era tax cuts for incomes over $250,000. President Obama has pledged to renew the Bush tax cuts on the middle class but has insisted that the cuts on upper-income Americans must be allowed to expire on schedule at the end of the year.