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Debt reduction proposal would cut Social Security, Medicare and important education programs

Plan amounts to another slam against middle class


WASHINGTON - December 01, 2010 -

The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued its final report today, offering a host of ideas to reduce the federal deficit by $828 billion by 2015.

“We cannot afford cuts in programs that help children, which is what the Fiscal Commission proposes,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Last year, one in five children lived in poverty, and those rates are increasing.  Education is a key to change that dynamic. The federal government consistently has underfunded education programs targeting those children most in need.”

Currently, the federal government is only funding 16.9 of the promised 40 percent under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), leaving an annual $15.8 billion tab for states and localities to pick up.  Title I, the program designed to assist our country’s most economically disadvantaged students, has not received the funding promised under NCLB.  Currently, the program receives about 58 percent of the authorized level, leaving a funding gap of $10.5 billion. Cumulatively, the funding gap since 2001 is $75.7 billion.

Among other proposals that would harm middle class workers, the plan undermines the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, shifts additional costs to Medicare participants, and raises the retirement age for Social Security recipients.

“The Commission has zeroed in on America’s workers by suggesting that we raise the retirement age, cut Social Security benefits, and even tax employer-sponsored health benefits,” said Van Roekel. “Our members understand that Congress and the Administration must address long-term economic concerns, but the Fiscal Commission is offering proposals that unfairly balance the federal budget on the backs of the elderly and middle class.”

“We need a plan for prosperity, not for austerity, a plan that would emphasize investment in people and infrastructure,” Van Roekel added. “We should be focusing on investing in education, skills, and the well-being of our people.” 

To see the commission’s final report, please go to http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing
3.2    million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823, srobertson@nea.org