Statement by AFT President On the Debt Deal

by Randi Weingarten, President
For Immediate Release
August 1, 2011

WASHINGTON—We uunderstand that, given the timing, this deal was necessary to avoid default and stabilize the financial markets; nevertheless, we are disappointed that it appears our most vulnerable citizens will bear the brunt of this solution. The deal does not create jobs or further invest in our infrastructure or our children. In fact, it will likely lead to huge cuts in programs for children, seniors and those who can least afford it, yet it doesn’t ask 1 cent of shared sacrifice from the wealthiest or from corporations. Finally, we are concerned this deal will have long-term negative consequences to state and city budgets, including school budgets—budgets that already have been affeected by the deep recession.

The debt deal is a temporary fix to a problem caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression, years of tax cuts and giveaways, two wars and the unfunded 2003 prescription drug program. Going forward, we need a thoughtful, constructive discussion focused on meeting the priorities necessary for a better future, including sensible spending and investments in programs that will create jobs, provide for those who need help the most, increase revenues from those who can afford it, and stimulate the growth of our economy for years to come.

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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.