Avoiding the Fiscal CliffDecember 05, 2012
Welcome back to AAUW’s Budget 101 series, where we examine tax and budget issues in the news. So far, we’ve gone over the federal budget, the impact of Bush-era tax policies, the payroll tax “holiday,” unemployment insurance, and what happens if we go over the “fiscal cliff.” In this post, we’ll talk about what Congress and the White House should do to avoid the cliff.
For several years now, AAUW has advocated for commonsense budget policies that promote fairness and fiscal responsibility. We believe that any outcome to the current debate must 1) focus on job creation, 2) be balanced in its approach to spending cuts, and 3) include additional revenues. Specifically, AAUW supports returning to the Clinton-era tax rates for high-income earners while continuing the current rates for the middle class. This policy will ensure a balanced approach to deficit reduction without creating devastating results for America’s middle class. Additionally, AAUW strongly prefers that Congress avoid further extensions of the payroll tax cut holiday, which breaches Social Security’s guaranteed funding stream and forces the program to rely on transfers from the U.S. Treasury’s coffers, setting a problematic precedent that may undermine Social Security’s long-term solvency.
AAUW is a nonpartisan organization, but we’re also multipartisan, representing a variety of political affiliations and viewpoints. Despite our differences, AAUW members come together to get things done and serve our communities. Congress should do the same. These decisions will only get harder if a solution is deferred.
Since our founding in 1881, AAUW has been breaking through educational and economic barriers to empower women. Our member-adopted Public Policy Principles support “public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to the community.” Like most Americans, AAUW members applaud financial success and responsibility but also value fairness and community. When the top 2 percent of earners and the wealthiest corporations get tax breaks the country can’t afford, the middle class has to make up the difference — otherwise we simply add more to the budget deficit and national debt.
AAUW has long been committed to speaking out for women and their families. We support budget policies that further the principles of fairness and fiscal responsibility — these ideas are not mutually exclusive. Congress should act, and act now, to avoid the fiscal cliff.