On Dec. 1, 2012, with the frenzied debate around the so called “fiscal cliff” raging in the media and in Washington, D.C., the American Friends Service Committee in Kansas City, wth cosponsors by Jobs Now, UMKC Economics Club and National Lawyers Guild, Occupy KC, Move to Amend, and PeaceWorks KC,held a lively forum titled, The Fiscal Cliff on Trial.

The event featured an indictment of the fiscal cliff and its perpetrators, testimony by community members, and verdicts by a panel of four expert judges. (Click this link to see indictment. Click this link to see video of indictment) 

(Video clips from the forum are posted at the AFSCKC Youtube channel. Click this link for the Fiscal Cliff on Trial playlist)

Witnesses testified about the negative impacts current proposals for a “grand bargain” would have on them and groups they represent.

The panel of judges included: (Click links to view video.)

  • John Henry, UMKC Professor of Economics, who debunked the rationale for deficit reduction hysteria and its impact on employment  and the economy
  • David Kingsley, PhD., KU Medical School and Convener of KS & MO Gray Panthers, who discussed the consequences of proposed cuts to Medicare, social security, and the social safety net and the impact on our community
  • June Carbone, UMKC Professor of Law, who examined the imbalance and inequity of our tax system and moral and practical question it raises
  • Dave Pack, KC AFSC Program Clerk and Peace Action National Board member, who analyzed excessive military spending and cuts and conversions which can be made without decreasing national security while increasing employment

Witnesses included Pat Hayes, UAW auto worker, and Anne Pritchett, a veteran teacher, testifying on impact on employment, education, and government workers; Tony Cage, homeless services worker, testifying about the need to maintain the social safety net; seniors Sharon Lockhart, member of Older Women's League and a financial planner, and Betty Temple, a retired nurse depending on social security, reporting on the impact on senior citizens; Matthew Burton, representing students concerned about student debt and education; Dale Kuhn, a veteran, testifying on the needs of vets and impact of military spending; Ron Faust, peace activist, testifying on waste in the Pentagon budget and the morality of excessive military spending; and Carl Greer, with Occupy KC, and Mary Lindsay, with KC Move to Amend, testifying on corporate abuses of power.

Tweets from the forum included:

  • "Students are being forced to reinvest in their own debt rather than the economy.”
  • Judge Carbone: "The real issue is inequality. We are creating a society of elephant seals."
  • Judge Carbone: "There is no correlation between not taxing 'job creators' and overall economic health."
  • Judge Kingsley: "We don't have a fiscal crisis. We have a moral crisis
  • Judge Henry: "There is no fiscal cliff. Period. It's a fraud."
  • "The moral statement of a budget is to be moral sensitive to the welfare of the people....and instead, we've invested in the costly endeavor of militarism."
  • Veterans are already being turned away from benefits due to austerity. Under Fiscal Cliff cuts, this will be compounded.
  • Where did the fiscal cliff come from? It was imposed on us by the 1%. And it affects the poorest among us.

Video clips from the forum are being posted at the AFSCKC Youtube channel. 

Click this link for the Fiscal Cliff on Trial playlist

We invite KC area residents to join us in ongoing actions around the deficit reduction frenzy, budget spending and revenue policies and economic justice. Contact us at afsckc@afsc.org or 816 931-5256  

Related Documents: