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Intro: "The latest idea to emerge in negotiations over a deficit-reduction package came from a group of senators that calls itself the Gang of Six. The proposal would be a disaster."

Five members of the 'Gang of Six.' From left: Senators Kent Conrad, Mike Crapo, Mark Warner, Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn. Not pictured: Sen. Saxy Chambliss. (photo: Common Dreams)
Five members of the 'Gang of Six.' From left: Senators Kent Conrad, Mike Crapo, Mark Warner, Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn. Not pictured: Sen. Saxy Chambliss. (photo: Common Dreams)

Disaster Warning on 'Gang of Six'

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

20 July 11


Disaster Warning: 'Gang of Six' deal sacrifices Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to GOP madness.

he latest idea to emerge in negotiations over a deficit-reduction package came from a group of senators that calls itself the Gang of Six. The proposal would be a disaster, Sen. Bernie Sanders warned. "The plan would result in devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many other programs that are of vital importance to working families in this country. Meanwhile, tax rates would be lowered for the wealthiest people and the largest, most profitable corporations."

"This is an approach that should be rejected by the American people. At a time when the rich are becoming richer and corporate profits are soaring, at least half of any deficit-reduction package must come from upper income people and profitable corporations. We must also take a hard look at military spending, which has tripled since 1997."

Summary of the "Gang of Six Plan"

Provides Major Tax Cuts to the Wealthy and Large Corporations.

  • The Gang of Six plan reduces the top marginal income tax rate for the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations from 35 percent to as low as 23 percent (about 34 percent lower than the top tax rates under Bush).

  • Instead of reforming the Alternative Minimum Tax, it abolishes it altogether providing a major tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.

  • It reduces the deficit by about $3.7 trillion over 10 years, while providing a net tax cut of $1.5 trillion that will mainly go to the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations.

  • In other words, 100 percent of the deficit reduction achieved by the Gang of Six plan is through spending cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, education, child care, Head Start, LIHEAP, the environment, and other programs that the sick, the elderly, the children, and working families need.

  • Any tax revenue that is raised by closing tax loopholes for large corporations must be used to lower tax rates.

  • Revenue raisers cannot be used to increase spending at all. Revenue raisers can only be used to lower tax rates or reduce the deficit.

Reduces the Deficit on the Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick, and Working Families.

  • It imposes undefined spending caps to be in effect until at least 2015 that could only be raised by 67 votes in the Senate.

Immediately Reduces Cost of Living Adjustments for Social Security Benefits.

  • Even though Social Security recipients haven't gotten a COLA for 2 straight years, the Gang of Six believes that the formula for calculating COLAs is too generous.

  • Under their plan, they would ensure that seniors never get a fair COLA by shifting to the Chained-CPI which would significantly understate inflation for seniors.

  • Under the Gang of Six plan, ten years from now the typical 75-year-old will see their Social Security benefits cut by $560 a year, and the average 85-year-old will see a cut of $1,000 a year.

Slashes Medicare.

  • Cuts Medicare by at least $298 billion over 10 years.

Holds Deficit Reduction Hostage to Cutting Social Security Benefits.

  • If the Gang of Six deficit reduction plan receives 60 votes, it will not be sent to the House until and unless the Senate also adopts a plan to reform Social Security so that it is solvent for the next 75 years.

  • If 60 Senators don't vote to approve an undefined 75-year Social Security solvency bill, the deficit reduction plan dies, even if 60 Senators voted to approve it.

  • Social Security is solvent for the next 25 years. No other government program can make that claim. your social media marketing partner


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+49 # michelle 2011-07-20 18:03
To the Gang of Six:
Shameful, plain and simple, shameful.
+17 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-07-21 04:42
Terrific, michelle, saying it all in a few, hardhitting words.

And, shame on us, we the sheeple, if we do not recognize what's gone on, and is going on - a greed and power addicted coup d'etat. Shameful for us and the rest of the world if we succumb to the Bushwhacking and Kochsucking evil, and this Gang of Six clobbering.

Time is now to say no to this Gang of Six, and to also say Nobama, to Oh Bomb Ah.

What a shame, how so many of us caught onto what a serious need for change we have. And then, in '08. we fell for the campaign promise of CHANGE. Sure as hell we did not expect this kind of caving into the enslavement - even more war, corruption, loss of rights, rule of law, etc. etc. evil etc.

Time to take off the blinders, say no to Nobama, and all other fake Dems., and fight like Irish/Wisconsin hell to..... UNDO THE COUP!
-2 # humanmancalvin 2011-07-21 12:46
And the planet you live on only receives Fox News on your television set? How are these GOP brutal & un-American proposals anything to do with OUR president? I truly try not to insult in my posts but you dear sir or madam are living on an alternate plane of reality.
+2 # rtrues54 2011-07-22 15:15
Quoting humanmancalvin:
And the planet you live on only receives Fox News on your television set? How are these GOP brutal & un-American proposals anything to do with OUR president? I truly try not to insult in my posts but you dear sir or madam are living on an alternate plane of reality.

+6 # RHytonen 2011-07-21 14:19
OUTRAGEOUS! This is worse than the Ryan plan BY FAR.

Obama needs to deal with this as the EXTREME of Lowballing it actually is.

And he should have led with NO tax cuts, NO TOUCHING ENTITLEMENTS EVER (except to lift the caps) and the 98% TMR that would be the ONLY salvation of this country now.
+45 # Dave45 2011-07-20 22:08
It is hard to imagine how Republicans have been able to get even this far with their egregious proposals. Nevertheless, with one of the weakest negotiators ever in the White House, the Rs might just be able to pull it off. A cave-in on S.S. by the President should seal Mr. Obama's fate for 2012; he could be the first person ever to spend a billion dollars on an election and lose.
+16 # D Rubes 2011-07-20 23:04
The problem is that any Republicorp President would be SOOO much worse. He's doing the best he can under the current conditions. He's done a lot of good, which they're trying their best to undo. The Consumer Protection Agency, Dodd, DADT, etc., etc. Same w Pres Reagen; immediately took solar panels off the White House roof that Pres Carter put up, canceled the alternative energy funding. IMAGINE if his energy policies had actually been instituted? ? One step forward, two back :(
+17 # Susan W 2011-07-20 23:31
You are kidding aren't you? There is no way anyone can continue to support this corporate whore in the White House by saying anyone one else would be worse. To have anyone who calls himself a Democrat even consider cuts to SS at any time is the biggest betrayal of the people ever foisted upon us. It is totally unconscionable to even begin to talk about balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly who are doing nothing more than collecting the benefits they spent a life time paying.

This wolf in sheep's clothing must be tossed out in 2012 and replaced with anyone who actually speaks the truth. At least then we would know what we are dealing with.
+28 # SharonToji 2011-07-20 23:44
I'm not actually sure he's doing the best he can, since he appears to be following the Chicago School of Economics, which is frankly bogus, and will merely prolong our recession -- possibly turn it into a depression. He needs to listen to the KC School of Economics, or at least Paul Krugman, who understands that you con't bring a jobless economy back by cutting more jobs. Cut government, you cut jobs. It's that simple. Where is the president's vaunted intelligence? (And yes, the Republicans would indeed be much worse!)
+17 # rf 2011-07-21 05:53
You assume Obama is a weak negotiator, I assume that he is a Republican with his complete economic cabinet being Republican.
+5 # tomo 2011-07-22 00:52
You've got it right, rf! Obama's not dumb; he's not wise, either. He's just an opportunist who's decided the corporatocracy is here to stay--and who is giving it every reason to think kindly of him.
+27 # Byronator 2011-07-20 22:51
The Gang of Shits rode out of the Chicago School of Economics corral, confronting the Gary Cooper-like ready-to-compro mise before a single shot is fired POTUS. The What's-Good-for -Wall Street, the Bad and the Ugly.
+24 # Steven G. Horneffer 2011-07-20 23:32
These idiots don't realize that supply-side strategies won't work when the problem is one of lack of demand. We need a Harry Hopkins to develop bills to repair our crumbling infrastructure in all 50 states, creating 10s of thousands of jobs in each. Let the respective tea party Republicans vote against them if they dare.
If trickle down worked, after the last 30 years of tax cuts we'd be up to our eyeballs in jobs.
+19 # Joe Bob 2011-07-20 23:37
The question is... Why is the public (We)letting this happen. Obama may be a wimp and that's why we need to kick him in the can. Clinton said he would raise the Debt Ceiling without congress. Obama wants everyone(Repubs and $$$) to feel good, well he don't feel our pain. 'nother Harvard brat.
+12 # Marvin H. Gladstone 2011-07-21 11:56
Joe Bob: Quoting Joe Bob:
The question is... Why is the public (We)letting this happen. Obama may be a wimp and that's why we need to kick him in the can. Clinton said he would raise the Debt Ceiling without congress. Obama wants everyone(Repubs and $$$) to feel good, well he don't feel our pain. 'nother Harvard brat.

Clinton was correct. The 14th Amendment prohibits actions (an inaction) the consequence of which would be to "question" the government's honoring of its obligations. Hence, a debt-cieling statute which caps the national debt without an exception precluding its effectiveness where its enforcement would result in "questioning" (much less precluding)the honoring of obligations, violates the 14th Amendment. Because the constitutional imperative applies to the executive as well as to the legislative branch, the Secretary of the Treasury must disregard the debt cieling, if honoring it would preclude payment of pensions and other statutory and contractual obligations created by the very Congress (or pursuant to laws enacted by it) whose debt cieling would, if honored,constit ute a constitutional violation. Indeed, knowingly suffering the United States to dishonor its obligations would be an impeachable offense.
+29 # SharonToji 2011-07-20 23:41
Well, I'm 75, and this says that in 10 years, my SS (my only retirement) will be cut $1000.00. Right now, I only get about $1000, so where would that leave me? But of course the "Gang of Six" have no such worries, with their pensions and undoubtedly large incomes.
+10 # Virginia 2011-07-20 23:51
The government needs to:

Take over the mortgages between 2003-2008, reconstruct them with the homeowners. Create a new revenue stream and expose any politician that fails to support it.

67 million MERS mortgages X $900 mon. (Homeowner payments) X 12 months = $723,600,000,00 0 annual revenue. And that's a conservative figure.
+19 # maddave 2011-07-21 00:46
About twenty years ago Fundamentalist Rev. Pat Robertson & Ralph Reed floated the concept of deploying conservative "stealth candidates" throughout Virginia & the whole of the USA. That is, orthodox conservatives who, masquerading as liberals, would infiltrate the Democratic party & run for office under false colors. The story played in Norfolk's Virginia-Pilot for a day or so and then dropped completely from sight.

If not stealth candidates, our Blue Dog Democrats in today's Congress - with whom Virginia's Mark Warner is allied, if not a member - will certainly do the job until a gang of certified, tea-bag-carryin g conservatives comes in to replace them.
0 # rick 2011-07-21 02:46
plunder is groundless and will only lead to 'further breaking' so you ain't seen nothing yet! It has been almost 400yrs of this kind of banking and it is melting the planet, it doesn't work in the least. And the president knows it but he is null and void. We are melting the planet w/ the way business is being done. LOL and religion is right there, johnny on the spot w/ the sophistic stance that no one seems to understand. "With the appointment of Warren we would give an optimistic view of a future grounded in a more moral/sane dynamic or interaction between Labor and the private sector(i.e. globally). But as you know this shall not come to pass. We must fook this planet and every living being on it. We are well aware that all, I repeat all lifeforms on planet Earth are in decline therefore we can not contend w/ a 'moving forward' that consists of an ability to counter this trend of decreasing returns if you will. We shall praise God, in the name of the Christ and that will suffice overall. There can not be questioning of our actions so one step we shall take regionally first is to defund or at best privatize all public library systems, 'we can't afford them', right? I think we have bright and glorious days ahead. Yes sir, we've arrived, thank you and may God, in the name of the Christ bless you."
+7 # Merschrod 2011-07-21 04:33
How can a Democratic Senaor even sho his face as a member of the gang of six? Madness.

Obama said that he would veto such a bill. Let's give him yet another chance?
+12 # lark3650 2011-07-21 06:49
The shackles of Economic Serfdom grow stronger and stronger as years pass by, more legislation is slipped through Congress by the use of millions of hard earned money, filched from the hands of the American laborers and farmers, under crooked and branded unconstitutiona l laws, which were made for, and do operate for the benefit of the foreign money changers and against the interest of all American producers. Hardly a decade passes, but another link is added to the golden chain that holds us in an economic bondage. (exerpt from the book, Lincoln Money Martyred (1935)
+20 # BishopAndrew 2011-07-21 07:24
It is clear that the saddest and cruelest betrayal of the elderly and the poor as well as the working class and the young will be accomplished by the willing cooperation of a Democratic President and Congressional leadership(?) with the Robber Barons whose gluttony know no bounds. How can anyone seriously ask us to "believe" in this country? It is apparent that "american exceptionalism" really means the exceptionally unjust and unequal quality life that is determined solely by wealth and the acquisition thereof. So much for the "ongoing American Revolution"!
+20 # miltlau 2011-07-21 08:43
Sanders says, " at least half of any deficit-reducti on package must come from upper income people and profitable corporations." Why only half? Why not all, and then some? The top 1% get almost a quarter of all income, around $3 trillion per year. If $2 trillion of that were paid in taxes, it would wipe out the deficit entirely, and still leave the rich with plenty of mansions and yachts.
+15 # Glenn Henricksen 2011-07-21 08:45
Our federal government is on track to betray us average Americans. This is true taxation without representation. If present trends continue, some 30,000 will hold all the wealth and the rest of us will b e sick, starving peons. We will become the biggest banana republic in human history.
+12 # r s freeman 2011-07-21 09:02
When social security, med'care, etc. are cut, are all government employees, INCLUDING senators, and congressmen going to have a proportionate cut in their very generous benefits ???
+3 # humanmancalvin 2011-07-21 12:49
Dream on...
+9 # humanmancalvin 2011-07-21 13:00
To quote Charlie Brown: "Good grief!" could ANY average wage earning citizen come close to supporting these gangs of such obvious employees of the ulta-wealthy & corporations? I am stumped, baffled, confused, but mostly frightened to death that these amoral politicos could possibly get away with the raping of this country. How?
+4 # CAProgressives 2011-07-21 16:02
This is why we must eliminate gangs in this country! What a sad day for America!
+4 # CCB5er34 2011-07-21 16:22
We need a revolution, by any means necessary. The average citizen has to take over the Capitol, and say ENOUGH!! Get right up in their faces and shame them. If we had any kind of aware, decent country, this would be happening, and maybe, wouldn't even have gotten this far.
+1 # Millie Barnet 2011-07-24 10:05
gosh, it's like the Devil himself is just about to take over our country and we are asked if that's okay. Yeah sure, always have trusted the Devil to do the right thing: throw the handicapped and the illl into the ditch and cover them up so we don't have to see them; double or triple if possible, the incomes of the wealthiest and crookedest people, trample the poor under our feet. Isn't this what all the great spiritual leaders teach? "Do unto others what you would not dream of others doing unto you!"
+2 # tanis 2011-07-24 10:28
so what are we going to DO? should we begin to talk to our neighbors, ask for creative action from ordinary citizens? Have ideas ourselves. Act? talk talk complain and live in fear. we are really good at that. Do something...... ..

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