The MAGA Default Crisis is just another diversion…

This is all GOP political theater to protect the interests of the wealthy and corporations who fill their campaign chests.

Kevin McCarthy and the MAGA majority in the House have threatened to take the economy hostage, seeming willing to drive the US to default on our debts if they don’t get their way. Their goal is always the same – slash Social Security, Medicare, and other programs our families and communities rely on. Cuts to these programs could be devastating for millions of Americans, and would pull the rug out from underneath all of us who have paid into the programs. Not to mention the risks of a recession and job losses if Republicans force the government to default on its debt. 

They’ve added more detail to their campaign of punching downwards – blocking Biden’s student loan forgiveness, instituting work requirements for our country’s poorest who receive “Medicaid healthcare benefits and SNAP food benefits” (like Jesus would have done!); cutting 22% from funding for veterans, Head Start and other childcare programs, Meals of Wheels, cut safety inspections for trains, provisions of the House-passed energy package and more.

This is all a diversion to keep us from noticing thatit was GOP tax cuts enacted under Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump―disproportionately benefiting the wealthy and profitable corporations―that are major drivers of our debt.” In fact, under the new GOP-dominated House’ rules, these kinds of tax cuts do not need to be offset with any sort of savings elsewhere in the budget, even if they add more trillions to the debt.

Action #1: Call your representatives!

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!: Republicans will try and peel off some Democrats, duping them in with promises of “bipartisanship” or “commissions” to find a solution. But we’ve seen this before, and we know Republicans aren’t to be trusted. 

Minimal call or email script to your Representative: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep.[___] for signing on to congressional sign-on letter from Reps. Boyle, Jayapal, and Kuster calling for a clean vote to avoid a default on our debts and opposing any cuts to Social Security and Medicare and other programs our community relies on.

But I want Rep.[___] to do more. The rich and corporations have enjoyed unfair advantages for too long, but we can learn from them. Successful corporations invest in themselves. It’s time that Congress copied their strategy by investing in us, the American people. It’s past time for to get what other developed nations have – universal healthcare, childcare, aging and disability care, paid family and medical leave, housing, nutrition, working-family tax credits, and many other investments benefiting families, people with disabilities, and older adults.

Action #2: Email your representatives and senators!

Minimal email script to your representative and senators: Care work is the work upon which all other work depends, and which holds up our economy. But care costs too much for families to afford, even as caregivers – overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color – are not paid enough to support themselves and their own families. Individuals and families can’t solve the care crisis on their own. We need to treat care as a public good, which requires public investments passed by our leaders in Congress.

Congress needs to raise revenues to support care investments, like childcare, paid family and medical leave, and care for the aging and disabled, by making sure the wealthy and big corporations pay a fairer share of taxes. For example, if Congress passes the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax, we would have enough money for all workers to have 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. We could also pay for free child care for 16 million children and provide fair wages for childcare workers. We urge you to support policies that tax the wealthy and big corporations in order to make investments that all our families can benefit from.


  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?:

Letter from Americans for Tax Fairness

April 18, 2023

Dear Member of Congress:

The current budget-deficit debate in Washington, like too many fiscal debates over the past 40 years, has been dominated by Republican demands to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, housing, nutrition programs, and much more. Our organizations are fundamentally opposed to holding the debt limit and budget issues hostage. Instead we believe that major new investments are needed in these and other services that benefit working families in order to create an economy that works for all of us—and that requires the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. We believe President Biden’s proposed 2024 budget provides an important starting point for a new direction.

It is crucial that a clean debt limit bill be passed quickly that allows the United States to pay its bills—including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance, and veterans’ benefits—and avoid global financial collapse. Anything less will legitimize future attempts to hold the full faith and credit of the U.S. government hostage and endanger hundreds of millions of people, no matter who they vote for.

Our organizations want to reverse decades of tax cuts for the rich and corporations that are a primary cause of federal budget deficits. Ensuring the wealthy and corporations pay a fair share of taxes should be the focus of any budget negotiations, not cutting earned benefits and services working people and struggling families depend on to make ends meet and get ahead. This is also necessary to reverse historic racial and gender disparities and move the nation toward equitable opportunities for all. 

The Bush and Trump tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the rich and profitable corporations are a major driver of the national debt, as detailed in a new report from the Center for American Progress. Among its findings: 

  • The original George W. Bush tax cuts and their extensions will have added $8.4 trillion to the national debt by the end of this year. 
  • The 2017 Trump tax cuts will add another $1.7 trillion in debt through 2023. Moreover, the GOP wants to renew those tax cuts expiring in 2025, which would cost $3 trillion more.

The Bush and Trump tax cuts alone are responsible for 57% of the increase in the debt ratio (debt as a percent of the economy) since 2001 and more than 90% of the increase in the debt ratio if the extraordinary costs of combating COVID-19 ($5.6 trillion) and the Great Recession ($787 billion) are excluded.

Here are just a few examples of how these tax cuts favor the rich and corporations: top individual tax rates are about half what they were 40 years ago; corporate tax revenue as a share of total federal revenue has dropped from one-third to less than 10% since the middle of the last century; some billionaires pay no federal income taxes and others pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families pay when the growth of their investments are counted; and the top 1% evades $160 billion in taxes that they owe every year. 

Meanwhile, spending on the 15% of the federal budget consisting of non-defense discretionary programs has been largely flat as a share of the economy for a long time. This spending on healthcare, education, housing, child care, public safety, the environment, infrastructure, and other programs stood at 3.6% of GDP in 2022—the same as in 2002 and a bit less than the 3.8% average over the 60 years since 1962.

Contrary to misleading conservative accusations that deficits have exploded because of irresponsible congressional spending for Social Security and Medicare, their growth has been almost exclusively due to a growing and aging population and rising healthcare costs. Similarly, increases in the growth of federal spending over the next 30 years for these and other major public health care programs are being driven by these same factors, according to the Congressional Budget Office. These are programs whose benefits and services should be strengthened and increased to meet the growing demand, rather than be cut. 

Far from overspending on the nation’s needs in recent decades, Congress has underinvested in the American people. Despite historic gains under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 28 million still lack health insurance and up to 18 million more could lose coverage this year because of expired public health emergency rules. Care work makes all other work possible, but families struggle to afford quality child care and aging and disability care—even as care workers are paid too little to support their own families. Just a quarter of workers have paid family and medical leave on the job. Working families are priced out of housing and students struggle to afford college. About 38 million people live in poverty. And Congress has failed to require the wealthy to pay their fair share to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, critically important programs.

President Biden has started to address these problems by raising more revenue through fairer taxes, beginning with last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. His 2024 budget proposes to raise almost $5 trillion exclusively from tax reforms affecting the rich and corporations. Biden’s budget invests $2.8 trillion of that revenue to expand and improve public services vital to working families—and diverts additional existing revenue to guarantee that Medicare can pay all its bills for the next 25 years—while still bringing down deficits by $3 trillion.

President Biden’s budget illustrates how lawmakers can both improve services for working families and reduce the deficit through fairer taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Those special interests are the ones who have been prospering—in large part from generous tax breaks in recent decades—while working Americans have been struggling from a lack of public investment. Therefore, Congress should reverse decades of tax cuts for the well-off and well connected, and increase funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare, childcare, aging and disability care, paid family and medical leave, housing, nutrition, working-family tax credits, and other investments benefiting families, people with disabilities, and older adults. 


List in formation


20/20 Vision
Alliance for a Just Society
Alliance for Retired Americans
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Friends Service Committee
American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)
Americans for Tax Fairness
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM)
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Better Organizing to Win Legalization
Campaign for America’s Future
Caring Across Generations
Center For Economic And Policy Research
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR)
Center for New Revenue
Center For Popular Democracy
Children’s Defense Fund
Church World Service
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition on Human Needs
Color of Change
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Community Change Action
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Courage For America
DemCast USA
Economic Policy Institute

Economic Security Project Action
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
Family Values @ Work
First Focus Campaign for Children
For Our Future Action Fund
Freelancers Union
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Groundwork Collaborative
Health Care for America Now
Health Care Voices
Health Care Voter
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC
Hunger Free America
In The Public Interest
Institute for Policy Studies – Inequality Program
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
Main Street Alliance
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for Hispanic Elderly
National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO
National Association of Social Workers
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Organization for Women
National Nurses United
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Rural Social Work Caucus
National Women’s Law Center
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
NextGen America
Our Revolution
Oxfam America
P Street
Patriotic Millionaires
People’s Action
Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Prosperity Now
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Public Citizen
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Small Business Majority
SocioEnergetics Foundation
Strong Economy For All Coalition
T1International USA
Take on Wall Street
Tax Justice Network USA
The Workers Circle
Transport Workers Union of America
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW)
Unrig Our Economy



Indivisible Sedona
Indivisible Stand

Arkansas Community Organizations

California Federation of Teachers
California State University Employees Union
Indivisible CA Green Team
Indivisible East Bay
Indivisible Marin
Indivisible Sacramento
Indivisible San Francisco
Indivisible San Jose
Indivisible Sausalito
Indivisible Sonoma County
Indivisible Ventura
RESULTS – Sierra Nevada
RESULTS – Silicon Valley
SEIU Local 99
Therapists for Peace & Justice
Venice Resistance

AFSCME Council 18
American Federation of Teachers – Colorado
Colorado Children’s Campaign
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

Connecticut Citizen Action Group
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)
SEIU Local 2001

All About The Ballots
Asian American Federation of Florida – South Region
Asian Caribbean Exchange
Black Womens’ Roundtable/ Broward
Faith in Florida
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
Florida Asian Services
Florida Black Women’s Roundtable
Florida National Organization for Women
Florida Rising
Greater Orlando National Organization for Women
Labor Community Alliance of South Florida
OCA South Florida Chapter
People Power United
RESULTS – North Florida

Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness
Indivisible Georgia Coalition

Hawaii Children’s Action Network Speaks!

United Action for Idaho

Citizen Action/Illinois
Housing Action Illinois

American Federation of Teachers – Indiana
American Federation of Teachers – Local 519
Gary Teachers Union Local 4
Hammond Teachers’ Federation – Local 394
Hoosier Action
Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc.
RESULTS – Indiana

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS)
AFSCME Council 61
Indivisible Iowa
Iowa Citizen Action Network
Iowa Main Streets and Country Roads
Progress Iowa
SEIU Healthcare Iowa

AFSCME Council 61

Maine Education Association
Maine Equal Justice
Maine People’s Alliance
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition
Maine Small Business Coalition
Maine Women’s Lobby
MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
New Ventures Maine
AFSCME Maryland Council 3
American Federation of Teachers – Maryland
Madre Terra de Mujeres Latinas Inmigrantes en MD

Coalition for Social Justice Education Fund
Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants
RESULTS – Massachusetts

AFSCME Council 25
DemCast Michigan
Detroit Action
Progress Michigan
SEIU Michigan

AFSCME Council 5
AFSCME Council 65
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
SEIU Local 284

AFSCME Council 61
Empower Missouri
Missouri Action Alliance

AFL-CIO Montana

Big Sky 55+
Great Falls Rising
Montana Federation of Public Employees
Montanans Organized for Education (MOFE)

AFSCME Council 61
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Nebraska Appleseed
Open Sky Policy Institute

Battle Born Progress
Faith Organizing Alliance
Human Services Network
Indivisible Northern Nevada
Make the Road Nevada
Native Voters Alliance Nevada
Nevada Public Health Association
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Voices for Children Nevada

Granite State Organizing Project
Granite State Progress
Rights & Democracy

BlueWave NJ
CWA Local 1037
CWA Local 1081
Faith in New Jersey
Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE/AFT/AFL-CIO)
Latino Action Network
Lutherans Engaging in Advocacy Ministry
Make the Road New Jersey
New Jersey Black Issues Convention
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Coalition To End Domestic Violence
New Jersey Education Association
New Jersey Main Street Alliance
New Jersey Time to Care Coalition
New Jersey Work Environment Council
New Jersey Working Families Party
Region 9 UAW Housing Corporation

AFSCME Council 18
American Federation of Teachers – New Mexico
New Mexico Voices for Children

Church Women United in New York State
Citizen Action of New York
Housing Works, Inc.
Indivisible Harlem
Indivisible Syracuse
Metro New York Health Care for All
Move Forward NY CD 18 & 19
New York Progressive Action Network
North County – New York Progressive Action Network
Tenants PAC
Upper West Side Action Group

Action NC
Currituck County Professional Firefighters EMS IAFF Local 4633
Family Centered Treatment Foundation
Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Taskforce
Safe Coalition NC
Tenant Organizing Resource Center

AFSCME Council 65


American Federation of Teachers – Oregon
Family Forward Oregon
Oregon Center for Public Policy
Our Children Oregon
RESULTS – Oregon
SEIU Local 503
Tax Fairness Oregon

Action Wellness
Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition
Coalition for Low Income Pennsylvanians
Cumberland Valley Rising
District 10 Network
Government Relations Advisory Committee – PA MS Society
Here For Us Advocacy Coalition
Indivisible Bucks County
Indivisible Pennsylvania Statewide
Indivisible Philadelphia
Lycoming County Progressives
New Opportunities for Affordable Housing
Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Pennsylvania Policy Center
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philly Neighborhood Networks
The HUB for Progress
The Women and Girls Foundation
VNA Community Services, Inc.

Economic Progress Institute
Protect Our Healthcare Coalition RI
Rhode Island AFL-CIO
Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus
Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
South County Huddle
Women’s Fund of Rhode Island
The Womxn Project, The Womxn Project Education Fund

RESULTS – South Carolina

AFSCME Council 65

RESULTS – Tennessee

Clean Elections Texas
Indivisible Houston
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County

Alliance for a Better Utah

American Federation of Teachers – Vermont

American Federation of Teachers – Local 4261
AMMD Pine Grove Project
Appalachian Voices
Bread Across Borders
Center for Sustainable Communities
Charlottesville Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Community Gear Library
Danville Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Dreamers Mothers In Action (SMIA)
Eastern Shore Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Fearless Ubuntu
Fredericksburg Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Friends of Buckingham
Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Indivisible Virginia
Interspiritual Empowerment Project
Little Bluestem
Lynchburg Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Martinsville/Henry County Chapter of Virginia Organizing
New River Valley Chapter of Virginia Organizing
New Virginia Majority
Newport News/Hampton Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Norfolk Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Piedmont Housing Alliance
Portsmouth Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Protect Our Commonwealth
Richmond Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Suffolk Chapter of Virginia Organizing
The Clinch Coalition
Tidewater DSA
Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations
Virginia Organizing
Waynesboro Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Wise County Chapter of Virginia Organizing
Wythe County Chapter of Virginia Organizing

American Federation of Teachers – Washington
Conscious Talk Radio

Eastern Panhandle Central Labor Council
Mason Jackson Roane Labor Council
Morgantown NOW
Ohio Valley Trades and Labor Assembly
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
Rise Up West Virginia
Southern Appalachian Labor School
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston WV
West Virginia Citizen Action Group
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care

Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC)
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
The Milwaukee Turners

Better Wyoming

(AmericanProgress) Tax Cuts Are Primarily Responsible for the Increasing Debt Ratio

( Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts about Social Security

(Brookings) Did the 2017 tax cut—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—pay for itself?

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