Budget Watch

A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118, E-mail [email protected]

Issue # 22 - December 14, 1995 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors

Administration Watch: Where the Clinton Administration Stands on Budget Issues

Union Chiefs to Workers: Drop Dead -- Part II Union Bosses Oppose Budget Plan that Would Give Union Families $915 in Tax Credits Each Year

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney recently unleashed a $2 million media campaign against 55 House members who support the GOP budget plan. The AFL-CIO's ad contends that these Republicans "cut" Medicare, education and college loans "to give a huge tax break to big corporations and the rich." And just who are these "rich"? Apparently, union families. The GOP plan would provide a $500 per-child tax credit for families making under $110,000 (or $75,000 for a single parent household). According to the government's Current Population Survey, the average union family had 1.83 children last year and would therefore qualify for $915 in tax credits under the GOP plan. The AFL-CIO's ad also applauds the President, saying "...Clinton stood up for working families" by vetoing the budget. The truth is, he did nothing of the kind: According to Scott Hodge of the Heritage Foundation, the President's budget would provide $15 million less in child tax credits than the Republican plan by excluding 23 million children from the program. Some 5.4 million families earning less than $30,000 would receive no tax relief under the President's plan. In announcing the AFL-CIO's new advertising campaign, John Sweeney said, "The Republicans in Congress are trying to divert attention from their attacks on working families. But our message to them is simple: We know what you're up to. And America's working families will hold you accountable for every single vote cast against us." Union members should know what Sweeney is up to and hold him accountable for his actions against the best interests of union families. For more of Hodge's findings, contact The Heritage Foundation at (202)546-4400.

Is AFL-CIO Ad Campaign a Pay-Back for Clinton Budget Initiative? President Delivers "Dirty Budget" Proposal

Tucked into President Clinton's proposed budget plan is a special concession for labor -- a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $5.15 (a 21% increase) by July 1, 1997, with an interim increase to $4.70 in July 1996. Wasn't it the President who insisted on "clean" budget proposals -- those without extraneous, non-budgetary provisions -- from the Congress last month? Referred to as the "living wage" -- the jargon of labor unions -- the President asserts that the wage hike would not kill jobs and is a necessary to step to welfare reform. According to the proposal, "What it [the wage increase] would do is ensure that those who work hard and play by the rules can live with the dignity they have earned." Most economists disagree with the President about the "harmless" effects of a minimum wage increase. In fact, as a presidential candidate, Clinton agreed with artificial wage hike opponents by stating that raising the minimum wage "was the wrong way to raise the incomes of low-wage earners." The wrong way back then -- but, the right way now. For a minimum wage fact sheet on the president's proposal, call the Small Business Survival Committee at (202)785-0238.

Hill Watch: Update on Budgetary Issues on Capitol Hill

Time is on Congress' Side, Two Polls Reveal

In the ongoing budget debate, time favors the GOP, according to two polls. With a series of press-sponsored polls showing public perception of Congress trailing public perception of the White House, this is good news -- and good reason for Congress to stand firm.

According to the two recent polls, Americans are reticent about the GOP budget plan and other initiatives not because they disagree with the proposals, but because they don't really understand what they would do. According to a survey by Public Opinion Strategies, for example, most Americans are woefully misinformed about Congress' Medicare reform plan. When informed that the plan would increase spending by 45% over the next seven years -- twice the projected inflation rate -- 80% of those surveyed said they thought the increase was too high. Another poll, the so-called MegaPoll, conducted by some of the nation's leading polling firms found initial support for the GOP budget plan weak, with just 38% having a positive impression of the plan while 46% had a negative one. After learning about some of the key provisions of the proposal, however (see chart), support for the plan rose to 57% compared to just 32% against.

Select Mega Poll Results:

Small Business Survival Foundation
1320 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202)785-0238
Fax: (202)822-8118

The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Ct NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110
Fax: (202)543-5975
E-mail [email protected]

Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress.

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