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Resolutions & Amendments

31st International Convention - San Diego, CA (1994)

Federal Entitlement Programs

Resolution No. 47
31st International Convention
June 27-July 1, 1994
San Diego, CA


            "Entitlements" are open-ended Federal programs that do not require annual Congressional appropriations in order to automatically pay benefits to individuals, businesses or government units that meet specific eligibility requirements — programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, AFDC, and agricultural subsidies; and


            Some in Congress, as well as the members of the Paul Tsongas/Warren Rudman-led Concord Coalition, are blaming entitlement programs for the runaway Federal deficit; and


            They have advocated cuts in entitlement programs in various deficit reduction bills, including the 1993 Penny/Kasich and Kerrey/Brown bills and the Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment, and are currently making the same arguments within the Entitlements Commission — a bi-partisan commission of Presidential and Congressional appointees who are scheduled to make their report in December; and


            Contrary to the arguments of these entitlement-cuts advocates, entitlement spending has remained the same percentage of Gross Domestic Product since the 1970s, even though the budget deficit nearly doubled as a percentage of GDP during the same time period; and


            Social Security is an "earned entitlement" that does not contribute to the Federal deficit because it is funded by an earmarked payroll tax rather than general revenue, and is currently in healthy reserve; and


            Medicare and Medicaid are victims of the same explosive costs that are crippling the nation's entire health care system — a problem that can only be solved through system-wide health care reform.


    That this 31st AFSCME International Convention reject efforts of entitlement-cut advocates to blame Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs for a deficit that resulted from ill-conceived tax cuts for the rich in the 1980s; and


            That AFSCME will fight any attempts by Congress to unfairly penalize the elderly, sick or needy in the name of deficit reduction, while refusing to require wealthy taxpayers to contribute their fair share.



0. Rowland Williams, President and Delegate
Debbie Davis, Secretary
AFSCME Local 1060, Council 28