AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka explains why labor leaders oppose many of the recent budget cuts, a new trade agreement with Columbia and plans to reform entitlements.
At the end of the interview, Trumka directly addresses the “entitlement” issues of Social Security and Medicaid:
Trumka: Let’s not mix apples and oranges. Socal Security is not part of the deficit crisis. It did not cause the deficit. Yet in the mix, when people talk about it, like you just did, the readers, the listeners would assume that the Social Security crisis problem . . . .
Mitchell: We’re not talking about the deficit crisis, we’re talking about making it viable as a pension.
Trumka: If you want to attack Medicare and Medicaid, you have to attack health care costs. Instead of doing away with the public option, there should be a public option to create competition. 94& of the health care markets out there are highly concentrated. That means there are one or two companies out there that can charge you anything they want. All you have to do for Social Security is scrap the cap. Take the cap away, you don’t have to have this. What we’re ding with priorities in this country, Andrea, is saying we can’t afford good jobs. We can’t afford retirement security. We can’t afford health care for our citizens. When the rest of the world figured that out, they figured out a way to do it. We are the richest nation on the face of the earth, we can do it, too. That’s why we’ll speak up and fight against those cuts to Social Security unti everybody, and I mean everybody, has paid their fair share.
In the report that was released but not approved, the President’s own Deficit Commission advocated for a strong public option for health care. There are two solutions mentioned by Trumka that are easy and viable solutions that are not mentioned by either the President, or the Democratic leadership, “scrap the cap” on Social Security contributions and a string public option for health care