Saturday, July 30, 2011

’Stop the bull, then occupy Wall Street’

By Dee Knight
New York
Published Jul 29, 2011 8:24 AM

Organizers of the three-week-long Bloombergville encampment in New York during June and July are calling for a General Assembly on Wall Street Aug. 2 to launch a campaign against the debt ceiling deal due that day.

In their call for the General Assembly, New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts said: “National politicians are using the Aug. 2 deadline on raising the debt ceiling as an excuse to attack social programs we are entitled to by law — Social Security, food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, and so on. In the midst of massive and growing joblessness, and increased homelessness, the president and Congress are hatching an agreement to swap massive cuts to such social programs for meager new tax revenues.”

NYABC asks, “Is this really necessary? We say stop the wars and cut the war budget! Tax the rich and close the corporate tax loopholes! Make the bankers pay!”

NYABC will assemble in the triangle near the bull sculpture on Broadway just south of Wall Street. A short rally will give those affected by cuts in Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps and other federally — funded programs a chance to speak their minds. The group will deliver notice to Wall Street of plans for a large-scale occupation beginning Sept. 17.

Organizers emphasize that the Aug. 2 action is just the beginning of a citywide campaign-part of a national effort-to resist and defeat the brutal assault on people’s needs and legal rights the Washington deal signifies. Members of New York public-sector unions plan to contact active and retired members, emphasizing that the threats to Social Security amount to theft of lifetimes of workers’ wages. As the call says, “cutting Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for the poorest people would only further impoverish people and add to deteriorating health conditions for all.”

The campaign will reach out to people who depend on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, encouraging them to fight the cuts, and to join with others, especially youth, who are being robbed and betrayed by the Washington deal. NYABC says, “Youth face grim prospects — a choice between going to war, prison, or an endless search for non-existent jobs. We demand a real future!”

Don’t take one cent from the people!

Responding to politicians’ talk of “cutting back entitlements,” NYABC says, “What’s an ‘entitlement’? Something that belongs to us by law! Social Security is part of our wages, deducted from every paycheck. We pay for Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, and all the rest with our taxes. Even the money the government has used to bail out the banks comes from our paychecks. We have a right to demand that the money be used to invest in jobs, education, health care and infrastructure — not bankers’ speculation.”

NYABC says Social Security “is not broke. There is $2.6 trillion in the Social Security trust fund — enough to fund the system for decades. If the fund really needs more money, the government can lift the cap on the highest-paid people and make all their salaries subject to Social Security deductions. Now they pay only on the first $107,000 earned each year. Also, in order to really replenish the fund, reduce the retirement age and increase benefits, and put the millions of unemployed back to work and raise wages. That would instantly solve any hypothetical financial problems of Social Security.”

The government refuses to tax the rich while giving bailouts to the banks. NYABC asks “What are the banks doing with our money — mostly speculating in foreign currency. They claim they need tax breaks to create jobs. They’re not creating jobs. But they are stuffing their bank accounts. In 2010 the top 500 CEOs paid themselves an average of $11.4 million each — a 23-percent increase over 2009. Meanwhile, workers’ wages are declining. Unemployment is rising. Hunger and homelessness are increasing.”

The NYABC call concludes “This deal will bring suffering and hardship so the bankers get paid interest on their bonds. Enough already! Tell Wall Street and the bankers no! Workers need a massive government jobs program. We need housing and an end to foreclosures and evictions.

We need an end to the assault on education, health care and pensions. And we need an end to oppression and war!

For more information, contact New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts at or email

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