The Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been participating in PDA's national effort to educate Congress. In December, more than 80 letters were delivered to Congressional offices around the country-- including those of Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Ron Barber.
Above, Jim Hannley, a member of the PDA Tucson Steering Committee, discusses the January 16 "prosperity not austerity" letter with Barber's staff. Below is the text of the letter, which also appears on our Facebook page.
If you agree with the points in this letter, please contact Barber's office and let him know.
Congressman Ron Barber January 16, 2013
3945 E. Fort Lowell
Re: Prosperity Not Austerity
Dear Congressman Barber,
We are voters in your district, and part of a national coalition for Prosperity not Austerity. We're asking you to support economic growth, preserve essential programs, and help lower the national debt by supporting 4 basic principles:
First, no more "hostage taking" re: the Debt Ceiling. President Obama is right to refuse to negotiate over paying the nation's bills. The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times in the past, including 18 times by Ronald Reagan. You should support a clean increase of the debt ceiling.
Second, we insist that our members of Congress resolve to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits by refusing to vote for any deal that weakens these programs. Medicare provides health care for 40 million American seniors and more than 8 million Americans with disabilities at a fraction of the cost of private insurance. Social Security adds nothing to the deficit or debt. Medicare provides life-giving care to millions of Americans, supports teaching hospital and other essential services. Cutting benefits and raising the retirement age would shift costs onto our seniors and increase costs on our society by over $11 trillion. We firmly oppose devastating families under the guise of deficit reduction.
Third, we must have a balanced approach in budget policies. The social safety net and the public sector suffered deep cuts during past negotiations. Any additional debt or deficit reduction must come from new revenue, and deep cuts to Pentagon and other waste--not public sector programs that support the elderly, the poor, working families or the middle class. With over $1.7 trillion already cut from programs for American families and less than half of that amount in new revenue, we need a more balanced, effective approach. We could save over $110 billion just by eliminating wasteful subsidies to oil and gas companies. The Inclusive Prosperity Act would raise hundreds of billions dollars by taxing Wall Street speculation. Allowing negotiation of drug prices under Medicare Part D would save more than $150 billion. You should support these policies; join the six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who have proposed sound principles of tax reform, as well as the bipartisan lawmakers who have called for Pentagon savings.
Fourth, we have a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis. You should support prospective legislation to make federal investments in direct job creation.
Thank you for your time and attention,
Phil Lopes, Coordinator, Tucson Chapter
(For Chapter Steering Committee Dustin Cox, Michael Gordy, Dr. Rick Graap, Jim Hannley, Pam Hannley, Dr. Eve Shapiro, and Dr. Barbara Warren)