The fiscal cliff is described by NBC Latino as the time at the end of this month where a series of tax cuts, part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which were implemented over the last few years come to an end, while at the same time, automatic spending cuts on government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, take place. This in turn affects Americans nationwide, but would also affect Latino families drastically.
“Almost half of U.S. Latinos rely on social security as their source of retirement income,” says Xavier Becerra, California Democratic Congressmen, referring to proposed cuts and changes in Medicare eligibility. Becerra also spoke out against Republican proposals for steep cuts in Medicaid, saying that it would threaten gains made under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which would insure nine million more Latinos.
“What will Congress and the White House to do make sure families don’t lose access to refundable tax credits, and how to make sure gains and opportunities stay intact for the neediest families?”says Cynthia Rodriguez, head of Congreso de Latinos Unidos.
As previously reported on La Plaza, the fiscal cliff has been a topic that has divided much of Congress, causing many to worry that it will take up much of Washington’s focus in early 2013.
“If parties don’t reach an agreement before the fiscal cliff deadline, the median Latino household earning around $43,000 a year would see taxes increase by about $2,200,” says Julie Rodriguez, Associate Director for Latino Affairs at the White House Office of Public Engagement. “As a result, families would be spending about 200 billion less on retail, for example, an industry which employs over 2 million Latinos.”
Efforts like those of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a non-partisan movement which hopes to mobilize key communities across the United States, is urging elected officials to step up and solve the nation’s fiscal challenges, but have received a substantial amount of backlash for its apparent support for entitlement reform.
“I certainly would not support privatizing social security or turning Medicare into voucher care,”said L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, the most recent addition to the Campaign to Fix the Debt’s steering committee, addressing the issue and explaining his support for the group.
On his side, Congressman Becerra worries that many Latino families would be “pushed off the edge” of the middle class or the pathway to the middle class if deep cuts take place.
This article was first published in Latinovations.[Photo by smaedli]