Sunday, March 6, 2011

Make Proposed Budget Cuts Transparent for the American People

Believe it or not, but the American people have not been told the impact of the proposed $61 billion budget cuts recently passed by the House of Representatives.  Yes, they’ve been told that health, education, and safety will be impacted, and that some jobs will be lost, but they’ve been given very few specifics to react to.

So today I tried to find out what that impact would be.  To my shock and dismay, I found that there was no … I repeat … no source that answered that question.   No newspaper, no magazine, no government report, no Democratic Party position paper … nothing.   I searched the Internet in vain.  All I could find were the same vague statements being repeated over and over again.

And so I went digging for specifics.  Here’s what I could find:

            $75 million      Would deprive 11,000 homeless veterans of vouchers for housing
            In total, programs benefiting children are cut 21%
            $330 million    Health
            $2.6  billion     Education … for example, significant cuts are made in Head Start
                                        and other early education efforts that would cause 368,000 children
                                        to lose early education slots.  These cuts will also cause many
                                        Head Start programs to close and many teachers to lose their jobs.
            $139 million    Youth Training
            $3.5  billion     Housing subsidies
            $30   million    Safety
            $782 million    Nutrition, mostly from the successful WIC (Women with Infant
                                        Children) program
Food and Health Safety:
            $1.3  billion     cuts from FDA, FSIS, and CDC budgets.  These cuts will iimpact
                                        everything from the number of federal meat inspectors ($53
                                        million) to dollars spent to control the spread of HIV.
Border and Immigration
            $600 million

The bill would also completely eliminate federal funding for a host of programs including Americorps, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting  (NPR and PBS), and Planned Parenthood. 

The number of jobs .. both government (federal, state, and local) and private … that would be lost as a result of the $61 billion in budget cuts has been estimated as high as 700,000.  Needless to say, any sizeable increase in unemployment will hurt the economy and hurt families.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  WHY hasn’t the Democratic Party or any news organization put together this vital information, preferably in a comprehensible form, so that the people can see what is happening and voice their opposition … if indeed they are opposed … to their representatives in Congress?

Remember that 2-years extension of the Bush tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 that the Republicans insisted on and the Democrats opposed.  That tax cut added $100 billion to the deficit for just that 2-year period.  But the Republicans won’t consider the impact of tax cuts on the deficit.  This is a clear example how they give to the rich and take from the poor and workers.  For them, there is no shared sacrifice.

If ever there is a need for effective communication, that time is now!