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The phrase “Let them eat cake,” supposedly uttered by Marie Antoinette reflecting her obliviousness to the plight of the people, could be attributed to some members of Congress. Blind to the real hardships faced by millions of Americans and ignoring what the majority of voters in this country want, the U.S House of Representatives is set on harming our nation’s shared economic prosperity in exchange for giving tax breaks to those who need them the least.

In a recent poll released by Americans for Tax Fairness, two-thirds of voters say they want the richest 2 percent and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes by closing tax loopholes and special-interest tax breaks. It’s time they live by the same rules as the rest of us and pay their fair share to reduce the deficit.

But rather than doing what’s right and fair, the U.S. House of Representatives has manufactured yet another crisis – bad policy-making known as sequestration.  On March 1, $85 billion in mindless, across-the-board spending cuts took effect, including to vital safety net programs.  These indiscriminate cuts will hurt working families, seniors and other vulnerable Americans. This gutless approach to policy-making is also likely to harm our fragile economy by cutting jobs and stifling growth.

If we don’t demand that Congress act now, these arbitrary cuts will deny food to children and seniors, turn low-income families out of their homes, cut unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and cost us jobs.

It's wrong to make seniors pay more for Medicare in order to give tax cuts to big oil companies. It’s wrong to deny young children food they need to stay healthy so corporations like General Electric and Verizon pay zero dollars in federal income taxes.

There is a better way. We can raise revenues by ending tax breaks to large corporations that ship jobs overseas and use that money to invest in jobs here in America. We can ask millionaires to pay at least as high a tax rate as their secretaries, instead of cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education.  We can close corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks and end corporate subsidies.

The budget agreement must reflect the values and priorities of working families and the middle class – the backbone of our economy. The budget cannot be balanced on the backs of America’s middle class and most vulnerable.

For the good of our nation and our people, we must invest in and protect education, health care, job training, and programs to assist low-income families. Everyone deserves to live in dignity. It’s up to us to fight together for an America that works for all of us -- an America of good jobs, strong families and communities, and shared prosperity.


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