AFL CIO President Richard Trumka Calls the Fiscal Cliff a Manufactured Crisis

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (AP)

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a speech on Thursday will rail against cuts that have been proposed to social insurance programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as part of a “grand bargain” between the president and Congress, arguing that the whole “fiscal cliff” thing is a “manufactured crisis.”

“There is no fiscal cliff,” Trumka will tell the National Mediation Board Conference in Washington on Thursday, according to prepared remarks. “What we’re facing is an obstacle course within a manufactured crisis that was hastily thrown together in response to inflated rhetoric about our federal deficit.”

Well, technically speaking, he’s right and he’s wrong.

He’s wrong when he says that there is no “fiscal cliff.” We do, in fact, face a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will go into effect in January unless Congress comes up with a budget deal.

But he’s right when he refers to it as a “manufactured crisis.” Indeed, it’s not like this thing crept up on us. Washington made it.

As explained earlier on TheBlaze, the spending cuts included in the “fiscal cliff” are actually the result of an attempt to get the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (i.e. the “super committee”) to come up with a deficit-reduction plan. The committee failed and now we’re faced with across-the-board spending cuts to defense and domestic programs (i.e “sequestrations”) and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.

​So remember: Whenever you hear someone talk about Congress reaching a “grand bargain” with the president on the “fiscal cliff,” keep in mind the “fiscal cliff” was a “grand bargain.”

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Trumka said that the workers he supposedly represents absolutely refuse to support any plan that calls for cuts to government social programs.

“The voters yesterday rejected that notion soundly,” he said last Wednesday. “The answer is, if it includes benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, we’ll oppose it.”

Trumka in his speech to the National Mediation Board Conference on Thursday will also say that it’s “time to protect” government social insurance programs while raising taxes for the “richest 2 percent.”

Quick question: When did it go from being the “one percent” to the “two percent”?

“What should working people, jobless people and retirees pay to lower those tax rates for the rich? Should we give up the promise of health care and retirement security that Medicare and Medicaid represent?” Trumka will ask.

“How about Social Security’s promise? Should that be sacrificed so ‘fair taxation’ can remain unspeakable? Not on your life,” he’ll add.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

All photos courtesy the AP.