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January 1, 2013 is the deadline for our financial future. At that time, taxes will go up for every American and steep cuts to government programs will happen across the board. This is the so-called "fiscal cliff" that needs to be avoided. While avoiding the "cliff" is important, it is much more important to use this opportunity to set our nation on a new fiscal path that ensures a brighter future for ALL Americans, not just a few.
This new direction has to set our country on a fair and stable financial path. Specifically we must increase revenue, protect the social safety net, reduce defense spending and carefully mange the deficit. While this seems like a tall order, the League believes that Congress and the President can take advantage of the historic opportunity they have been given to provide a long term solution to this financial crisis.
Today, more than 20 million people are in need of full-time work, and unemployment continues to hover around 8 percent. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and essential services for low-income people must be maintained. Millions of seniors, children, people with disabilities and others depend on these programs and they should not be cut.
With the current state of the economy, our nation must have a truly balanced approach to spending and taxes. Congress must restore a fair and progressive tax system in order to provide needed revenue and ensure social equity. This includes allowing tax cuts that benefit only the richest two percent to expire on schedule.
Securing substantial new revenue from those with the greatest ability to contribute will allow our nation to meet reasonable deficit reduction goals, invest in education and infrastructure and protect the programs that meet basic human needs. If we balance our spending with our revenue, America can get back on the path to strong and stable financial security.