The Disappearing Deficit

When President Obama took office, the U.S. budget deficit was $1.4 trillion dollars.  In 2013, it was less than $680 billion.  In 2014, it’s projected to be about $514 billion.

And here’s more good news.  Revenues taken in by the federal government are expected to increase by 9 percent in 2014 to $3 trillion, while spending will increase by only 2.6 percent.

The increase in federal revenues is due to a few factors.  First, some tax cuts for businesses are set to expire.  Second, the Social Security payroll tax will also run out in 2014.  Finally, the overall economy is expected to continue to improve, thereby also providing an uptick in revenue.

So there’s no question that, since President Obama took office, we’ve seen an effort to cut the deficit.  But when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, they won the argument on how best to do so by insisting on the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.  Those cuts are projected to reduce federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade.  Sequestration has a downside, though.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that its cuts might result in the loss of as many as 750,000 jobs.

But even that statistic has a silver lining.  Congressional Democrats have put together a piece of legislation we can all support.  It’s called the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Through 2014 Act.

Sounds like a good idea…

Michele Petrovsky, Webmaster at Tools4Change Author of, Cathedral or Bazaar?  Fix Higher Education – Teach by the Seat of Your Pants , Donkey Dharma, and Quick Guide to Linux Glen Mills, Pa.


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Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work