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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How Much Will the Budget Cuts Cost?

The deepest budget cuts in American  history on the heels of  end of the last Congress continued give away of reduced tax rates to the wealthy has only whetted the appetites of conservatives who are staying firm in there attempt to restructure wealth upwards massively.   I thought perhaps we need to look at some of the costs of budget cuts.
One of the cuts I have greatest difficulty with is a $500 million cut to Women, Infants and Children (WIC).  The Tea Party Enthusiasts actually had tried to completely scrap the program which provides milk and other high protein or hi nutrition items  to families with infants and young children as a supplement to food stamps.  Without WIC many families would be replacing milk for children with Kool Aid and mothers would be forced to water down formula.  Statistics prove that WIC reduces infant mortality and "failure to thrive". This massive cut means that some infants will die who would have lived and some children will suffer years or a lifetime of poor health from poor nutrition.  The cost is in children's health.

$3.5 Billion cut in CHIP, Children's Health Insurance Program, which is awarded to states to distribute to generally uninsured children.  Again, a massive cut that will affect children's health and lead to higher infant and children's mortality.  A cost in lives.

A $600 million cut to community health centers, forcing some perhaps to close and others to cut back services. Here at least the cuts don't fall entirely on children, but on all who are uninsured or under insured who seek help from Community Health Centers.  A cost in higher diabetes, greater health problems for children, higher rates of treatable common illnesses.

The next cut is a slap in the face from those who opposed Obama's new health care program.  Republican critics said over and over again, why don't you just promote CO-OPS for health care.  So large amounts of money were put into the budget to create CO-OPS.  Now $2.2 billion has been cut  from the new COOPS program, which allows community health organizations to create these health care cooperatives.  The COOPS would  lead to lower costs, so cutting the funds actually will increase costs later, unless we abandon completely the attempt to provide improved health care for the majority of Americans. 
There will be a $500 million cut in Pell Grants, aimed at denying year round grants making it difficult or impossible for low income students to go to school for 12 rather than 9 months of the year. This will prevent students from foreshortening there time in school, forcing some to drop out as expenses mount.  A major cost in lowered educational standards. 

There will be a $2 billion cut from Public Housing and Community Development programs.  forcing greater homelessness and less community development, higher poverty in urban areas.   A cost in homelessness. 

$317 million cut from from literacy programs including Striving Readers and Even Start.  A cost in lifetime lower literacy and a greater disadvantage to poor children.  This program helps fund pre-school for low income children.  

Why have the Republicans been able to cut so deeply?  Because they have been able to stand firm on preventing taxation of the wealthy.  Closing tax loopholes for corporations or allowing recent tax cuts to thew wealthy to lapse is always greeted with "tax increases" are not on the table.  The Republicans have mobilized this through a pledge not to increase taxes, so that any Republican candidate who refuses to tax the pledge is under suspicion in the primaries.   This was a pledge promoted by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.  It is  called the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and was started in 1986. there are different versions for state and national elections.      Here is the wording of the pledge for House of Representative Elections. 

I, _______________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ district 
of the state of__________, and to the American people that I will: 
                       ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax 
         rates for individuals and/or businesses; and 
                       TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and  
          credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates. 

This pledge is then signed and witnessed and is considered a binding and permanent pledge. 

What we need is a pledge running in a different direction.  A "Public Protection  Budget Pledge"

I, _______________, pledge to the citizens of the _____ district 
of the state of__________, and to the American people that I will: 
                       ONE, oppose any and all efforts to balance budget deficits at the expense of
         families or the poor, elderly, disabled or vulnerable.  
                       TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of programs helping these populations, unless matched dollar for dollar by improved programs. 
                       THREE, oppose cuts in entitlement programs that substantially harm these populations.

Lets see if we can get politicians to sign this pledge.   If we don't the costs to families, the poor, elderly, disabled or vulnerable and ultimately to all of America will be enormous. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much, I love the Idea. I'm not sure it goes far enough, but then, I'm on the Fringe Left-

    Keep up the good work!

    The Detective In The Mirror