Deficit Commission Proposal of Co-Chairs Targets Women Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority
The Feminist Majority joins its many sister organizations that are outraged at the Deficit Commission Co-Chairs in denouncing their proposal.
This proposal would be a poor joke if it was not so cruel to the elderly, the working poor, and the majority of working women. The proposal targets programs for cuts, such as Social Security, the earned income tax credit, and the child tax credit, in which the majority of recipients are women and programs that women, especially elderly women, desperately need. It caps spousal benefits (mostly going to women) at one-half of average workers' benefits - not necessarily their spouses' benefits as it is now. It freezes the pay of the civilian Department of Defense employees (the majority of which are women) and of so-called non-combat military forces (i.e women). Even insisting students pay interest on student loans while they are in college hits young women more than men since men are less dependent than women on college loans for their education.
Social Security has not caused the deficit problem. In fact, Social Security has accumulated a massive surplus. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "To prepare for the retirement of the baby boom, Social Security system has accumulated a surplus of $2.6 trillion (in 2010)." The U.S. cannot balance its books on the backs of older women, the disabled, and the middle class while it provides tax cuts and tax breaks to the super rich and to mega, multinational corporations.
Most of its suggestions are to reduce spending rather than to increase revenue as it places the burden on middle-class Americans, especially women, and protects the skyrocketing profits of the richest Americans. Obvious solutions such as raising the cap on FICA or Social Security withholding tax to include more of the income of the highest paid Americans (i.e. mostly men) was not suggested. The proposal rejects the basic principles of a progressive income tax, which is the staple of a fair or just taxation system and it reduces corporate income taxes yet again.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .