Iowa GOP Caucus Frontrunners’ Policies Will Hurt Working and Middle Classes

by Clyde Weiss  |  January 04, 2012

Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum by eight votes for the top spot in last night’s Iowa Republican caucus for President and Ron Paul landed in the No. 3 spot. The big loser in the contest? Working families. All three GOP candidates have demonstrated that they will work to undermine workers’ rights, retirement security, health care for all and reverse President Barack Obama’s efforts to jump-start the economy.

“Tonight’s Iowa caucus results further show that this year’s GOP field is the fraternity of the 1 percent,” stated AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee. “Once voters get a good look at the candidates it becomes crystal clear that they are desperately out of touch with the real world concerns of America’s working families. How else can you explain Mitt ‘corporations are people too’ Romney’s $10,000 bet, or Newt’s shopping sprees at Tiffany’s?”

Romney has vowed to overturn the historic healthcare reform law that President Obama signed in 2010, despite the fact that it was modeled on his own health care plan for Massachusetts. He also wants to convert Medicaid into a federal block grant administered by states – a suggestion that will have devastating consequences for the economy and the millions who depend on Medicaid. Moreover, he proposes to raise the retirement age to receive full Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Romney’s anti-labor positions also offer a chilling prospect for America’s working families. He supported Ohio’s anti-worker law, Senate Bill 5, which would have deprived public service workers of their right to have a voice on the job through collective bargaining. By an overwhelming margin, voters last November sided with workers and repealed the law.

Romney also backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) campaign to last year to deprive public service workers of their collective bargaining rights. His political action committee donated $5,000 to that effort. Read more about Romney’s anti-worker agenda here.

Rick Santorum, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, wants to cut $5 trillion in federal spending within five years and cut the corporate tax in half, a plan that will put even more people out of work and devastate America’s fragile economic recovery. He also supports passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would be an economic disaster, favors repeal of Obama’s health care reform law, and wants to roll back Dodd-Frank regulations intended to prevent another Wall Street meltdown.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is no better. His plan to eliminate the Departments of Education, Interior, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will do nothing to create jobs, and would actually throw more public service workers into the unemployment lines. His plans to slash $1 trillion from the budget in just one year, repeal healthcare reform, block-grant Medicaid, lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent and extend the Bush tax cuts also threatens to dismantle the economic recovery that is just beginning to take hold.

“The GOP candidates do not have a single proposal that will help middle-class Americans struggling to get ahead,” adds Pres. McEntee. “With millions of Americans out of work we need to create jobs not tax cuts for millionaires. Americans are looking for leaders like Barack Obama who will pull this nation together to solve the jobs crisis and rebuild the American Dream for all Americans.” 

AFSCME’s International Executive Board has endorsed President Obama because he supports workers’ rights, collective bargaining and has real solutions to the nation’s economic woes.

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