Attacks and Responses









"These sequester spending cuts are very modest."

  • Economic experts are warning that the sequester's spending cuts will kill 750,000 jobs this year alone -- not to mention cut the things that America needs, like our schools, job training, research and innovation, efforts to keep our air and water clean.
  • Sure, if you're a wealthy and out-of-touch Congressman, job losses and cuts to the things regular Americans count on might not be a big deal. But for ordinary Americans, they matter.
  • It's almost as if Republicans in Congress think regular Americans deserve these things to happen -- the massive cuts to our home front investments they've been pushing for all along.

"We need to cut spending to grow the economy."

"Spending is out of control."

  • The real problem we have is that we're not investing enough, not putting enough Americans back to work, and not getting our economy moving fast enough. The sequester only makes it worse by guaranteeing job losses.
  • In fact, funding to keep America running is actually at a 30 year low, once you look at it in a better way: as a share of the country's total economic activity. We're talking about everything from our efforts to keep our air and water clean and scientific research to public safety and our schools.
  • This European-style austerity that Republicans in Congress keep forcing on America is an enormousdrag on our economy, not to mention a big reason why so many people are still pounding the pavement instead of making a decent living.

"It's ridiculous to suggest that Republicans are rooting against the economy."

"Infrastructure spending is a union bailout."

  • Jobs are jobs. Politicians who would keep Americans jobless and our roads crumbling just for political reasons are putting their ideology ahead of what's best for our country.
  • Construction workers should be paid a fair wage for their work and the decent benefits they need to take care of their families. When they join together through unions, they can make sure that happens.

"Keystone could create 20,000 jobs."

  • Those jobs numbers come from TransCanada, and they're wildly inflated. We need to focus on putting more Americans back to work in more long-term and good paying jobs right here in the United States -- like clean energy jobs, which are growing four times faster than other work.
  • Even with contractors hired by the pipeline developer writing it, the State Department report admitted that constructing Keystone would create 35 permanent jobs and 3,900 temporary construction jobs
  • The pipeline also has the potential to kill jobs. A pipeline rupture would devastate farms andranches along the pipeline, just like the BP Oil spill devastated Gulf fishermen.

"A higher minimum wage will kill jobs for low-income workers."

  • Politicians refusing to fix the minimum wage aren't looking out for working families -- they're looking out for their corporate donors who'd be responsible for paying it.
  • Look, Americans are working harder and harder for less and less. It's no wonder our economy isn't growing as fast as it should. We've got to stop ignoring this problem.
  • Numerous studies show that companies can deal with a modest increase in the minimum wage without cutting back on hiring. In fact, a higher minimum wage ultimately benefits the entire economy because it puts money in our pockets and paying customers in our stores.
  • When we value workers by paying honest wages for an honest day's work, businesses across the country also get reliable, professional employees who want to stick around to give it their all. Just ask business owners if they want to turn down more stable employment and more customers.

"Raising the minimum wage will hurt small businesses."

  • Actually, most of these jobs paying so little come from big corporations.
  • These corporations keep giving their CEOs bigger bonuses every year, but then turn around and claim they can't afford to pay their workers -- the people who keep their companies going -- even the bare minimum needed to get by.
  • People who work paycheck to paycheck are customers in our businesses who put their money right back into our economy. It should be a no-brainer to pay them a fair wage for their hard work.
  • Republicans in Congress have some nerve making this charge when they keep refusing to support tax cuts for small businesses while rigging the tax code in favor of the big corporations funding their campaigns.


"We have a debt crisis."

  • What we have is a jobs crisis. We should be doing everything we can to put Americans back to work, which is also the best way to erase the deficit.
  • Even Speaker Boehner admits that we don't have a debt crisis. When GOP leaders agree with the President and nonpartisan experts like the CBO on this, there shouldn't be controversy.
  • But Republicans in Congress keep trying anyway to force European austerity on America and using arguments about the deficit and interest rates that apply to Europe but not America.

"The President's budget never balances. The GOP budget does."

  • There's no question that the American people are demanding fiscal responsibility from our leaders in Washington. 
  • But for Republicans in Congress, a balanced budget is just a sound bite. When they say "balanced budget," what they really mean is slashing investments in America to pay for tax cuts for the rich.
  • It's simple math -- the numbers don't add up unless the middle class pays for the GOP budget's tax giveaways to millionaires, oil companies, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.
  • The GOP budget would actually massively raise taxes on the middle class or massively add to the debt. That's because cutting taxes for wealthy people and big corporations means everyone else has to make up the difference.

"The President's budget doesn't cut wasteful spending enough."

  • Let's be clear here -- spending cuts for Republicans in Congress mean job cuts for ordinary Americans.
  • They're talking about laying off the Americans who keep our air and water clean, the scientists who research lifesaving innovations, the teachers who educate our children, the cops and firefighters who keep us safe.
  • Economists say we have the opposite problem -- we're not investing enough to create enough jobs. It's common sense -- putting people back to work puts money into our pockets and paying customers back in our stores, which keeps them hiring and thriving.

"The President's budget doesn't go far enough to reform entitlements."

  • Let's be clear on what Congressional Republicans really mean when they say "reform": cut and privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher, and wash their hands of Medicaid altogether.
  • With everyone but the rich falling behind, a vote to cut our Social Security and Medicare benefits is a vote to shrink our middle class. Children are not better off either if their parents and grandparents are worse off.
  • That's not true fiscal responsibility, and it's not true to our values as Americans. In these tight times, we should be investing in what works -- the most efficient systems for securing our health care and financial security.
  • Cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits isn't just bad policy. It's bad politics. Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting benefits and agree we must not let politicians betray the sacred promise each generation makes to the next.

"The deficit is out of control."

  • Actually, the federal budget deficit is getting smaller. It's projected to hit a five-year low this year.
  • Let's remember how we got today's deficits in the first place -- the Bush tax cuts for the rich that Republicans in Congress fought for, the two wars they refused to pay for, and the Great Recession they tried to keep going.
  • The best way to fix the deficit is to put Americans back to work and have the wealthy pay their fair share -- but Republicans in Congress refuse to do both.
  • Instead they're trying to force more European-style austerity on America. How's that going for Europe? Unemployment across the 17-nation Eurozone just hit a new record high and the recession is coming back or getting worse for countries like Britain and Spain.
  • In America, the European-style austerity they've already inflicted on us is dragging down economic growth -- which makes the deficit they supposedly care about  harder to deal with.

"Our deficit was caused by too much spending, not a lack of revenue."

"Out-of-control entitlement spending is responsible for the deficit."

  • They'd rather gut Social Security and Medicare than make millionaires and big corporations pay a few more cents on the dollar in taxes.
  • Social Security doesn't add a penny to the deficit and Medicare is the most cost-effective way for our seniors to get health care. But Republican politicians never liked Social Security or Medicare and still want to take them away.
  • When Republican politicians take away the benefits our seniors have earned, they take money out of the pockets of middle-class Americans. That takes away customers from our businesses - and that means less hiring and fewer jobs.
  • If they were serious about deficits, they wouldn't have fought so hard for the Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars that led to the record deficits we're dealing with today.

"Refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation's debt is why Washington lurches from crisis to crisis."

  • Washington keeps lurching from crisis to crisis because Republicans in Congress keep manufacturing new crisis after crisis just to score political points.
  • Just look at their default threats -- their refusal to pay our nation's bills unless they got their way would've tanked the global economy. That's why their brinksmanship brought the country's first credit downgrade.
  • That's no way to govern. We need leaders who are committed to running a government for and by the people -- not breaking government just to score political points.

"The House GOP budget is courageous."

  • Letting seniors go bankrupt and taking food away from vulnerable children to avoid asking your wealthy campaign donors to pay their fair share -- that's cowardly.
  • Courage is standing up to the wealthy and powerful special interests funding their campaigns -- but Washington Republicans won't do it. They actually want more giveaways for the 1%.
  • Do we really want America led by politicians who'll show courage only when their corporate campaign donors give them permission?

"Republicans are just trying to save America for the next generation."

  • The Republican vision for our country is not the America we want to pass down to our kids and grandkids.
  • The GOP budget would mean more parents without jobs, fewer teachers in our classrooms, and less food on our most vulnerable kids' breakfast tables.
  • Here's how NOT to look out for the next generation: let their parents go bankrupt by gutting Medicare and Social Security, make it harder to afford college, and leave their roads and bridges crumbling.


"Regulations kill jobs and economic growth."

  • Talk to real business owners and they'll tell you they're hurting because they don't have enough customers -- not because of regulations.
  • We don't have to choose between jobs and common-sense safeguards that protect the food we eat, the air our kids breathe, and the products we buy.
  • New standards encourage industries to innovate and can CREATE jobs -- just like safety standards spawned a new industry in safety gear for construction workers.

"Overregulation is costing jobs and c
rippling growth."

"We need to unleash businesses from over-regulation."

  • After Enron, the Wall Street meltdown, and the Gulf Oil Spill, Republican politicians are actually saying with a straight face that we need less oversight and less accountability. 
  • Our economy isn't struggling because companies can't dump toxic chemicals in our rivers, Wall Street can't gamble away our retirement, and big corporations can't skimp on their workers' safety.
  • What our businesses need are more customers. This is the problem that we're trying to fix, but Republican politicians keep saying no.

"Excessive regulations mean families will pay more."

  • Cutting regulations means cutting corners on our health and safety - and that costs families more in the long run.
  • We already know what happens when Wall Street or companies that care more about profits than people get to do things their way.
  • Common-sense safeguards protect the food our families eat, the air our children breathe, and the things we buy for our homes. Without these protections, our families will end up paying more later.


"If we raise the debt ceiling, we're just kicking the can down the road on debt and deficits."

"Obama's spending spree is the reason we keep hitting the debt ceiling."

"Regulatory uncertainty, tax uncertainty, and debt uncertainty caused by Democrats are dragging down the economy."

  • If leaders in Congress want to restore certainty to the markets, they can start by voting to pay our nation's bills and avoid a catastrophic default.
  • Small businesses are reluctant to invest or hire more workers as long Republicans are threatening to default on our debt and trigger another major recession.
  • Defaulting on our debt would be catastrophic for small businesses - it would mean higher interest rates and tightening credit markets, making the Bush Recession look like a walk in the park.

"Democrats are just using scare tactics -- defaulting on our debt wouldn't actually be so bad."

"President Obama is asking for a blank check, and we shouldn't give it to him."

  • Here's what's really going on: Republicans in Congress don't want to pay for the massive tax breaks they gave to millionaires and the wars they started now that the bills are coming due.
  • They're trying to skip out on our obligations, and they're putting partisan ideology before America's reputation and our working families.
  • They want the President of the United States to fail more than they want Americans to succeed.

"Democrats are responsible for the credit downgrade
and the political gridlock."


"There's a war on success."

  • In America, we celebrate success and want everyone who plays by the rules to do well.
  • Our economy works best when everyone plays by the same rules, everyone contributes their fair share, and we value hard work more than the wealth that anyone's family has.

"Talking about inequality is really all about envy."

  • Americans are frustrated and troubled by our country's record income inequality and the recent Wall Street abuses. It's no wonder they're taking to the streets and speaking out.
  • But for politicians who rig the game to help the wealthiest 1% at everyone else's expense -- they think we're just jealous if we think that's not right.
  • Wanting our economy to work for everyone isn't "all about envy" -- it's a core American value.

"Wall Street didn't cause our economic crisis
-- irresponsible homeowners did."

"The Occupy movement is dead -- it failed."

  • What began as a single protest about Americans' frustration with Wall Street has become an American movement with an idea whose time has come: our leaders should represent all of us, not just the richest 1%.
  • Americans are beyond frustrated with how our economy isn't working for all of us -- and that's not going away as long as politicians keep rigging the game to help Wall Street CEOs at everyone else's expense.

"These protestors are Socialists, Marxists, and Communists who want to destroy capitalism."

  • These protesters are ordinary Americans from all walks of life joining together and speaking out. This is democracy. Like General Colin Powell said, that's as American as apple pie.
  • Right now, today's economy rewards corporate CEOs and the richest 1% who get politicians to bend the rules at everyone else's expense -- while millions of regular Americans are working harder and harder for less and less.
  • Our economy works best when we value working people, everyone plays by the same rules, and everyone pays their fair share.

"The protestors never know what they stood for or what they were doing."

  • It's pretty obvious what these protests were about. Wall Street and big corporations are raking in record profits instead of hiring people. Millions of Americans are struggling while the richest 1% is doing better than ever. That's why these protests started on Wall Street, not Main Street or Broadway.
  • Occupy has grown into a national movement that's shifting the national conversation -- and making an impact on the national policy agenda.
  • Our leaders should make no mistake about the message: they need to do their jobs by taking back control of our economy from Wall Street so the rest of America can have decent jobs, too.


We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


Posted in - Budget - Taxes - Economy - Occupy Wall Street - Jobs - Regulations

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