Thursday, January 20, 2011

Congress: Killing the American Dream

How many journalists on how many talking head programs since November have asked the same question: “Okay, GOP, you say you’re going to trim the federal budget. But what exactly are you going to cut?” Today, Congress revealed its answer, and guess who emerged as the biggest losers – poor Americans. In a word, the proposal put forth by Congress today is unconscionable. There are a lot more cuts than what are listed here, and you can read all about it at your favorite news and information site, but here are a few examples of what came down from on high today:

Legal Services Corporation would be eliminated. LSC is the government’s largest provider of legal aid for the poor.

HOPE VI Program would be eliminated. This program runs the The Office of Public and Indian Housing, charged with providing decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUND would be eliminated. Here is their mission statement: “The CDFI Fund's mission is to expand the capacity of financial institutions to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities in the United States.”

TITLE X would be eliminated. Title X provides public funding for family planning and preventive health screening services for women and low income citizens.

THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION would be eliminated. This commission provides economic development, infrastructure assistance and job creation/training for some of the poorest American citizens.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION would be eliminated. The EDA provides jobs and job training for some of the most economically distressed areas of the U.S.

THE NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICES ACT funds programs to help communities address poverty, the environment, education, and other unmet human needs, according to its original wording. It would be elmininated.

It bears mentioning that while the proposal does cut spending on Federal offices, government travel, Congressional printing and binding, and Federal vehicles, it does not touch Congressional salaries, benefits or pensions. The current salary for members of Congress is $174,000 annually. The Speaker of the House is paid $223,500. Retirement benefits are generous, and dependent upon years of service. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median income for an American household in 2010 was $46,326.

The cuts proposed by the House of Representatives today would negatively affect tens of millions of American citizens in the areas of health care, family planning, employment, environmental issues, credit, housing, disability assistance, care for the elderly and equal access to legal assistance. If you’re a family guy who’s been out of work for a year or two, look out. If you’re a single mother trying to keep food on the table, you’re in trouble. If you’ve got kids in school in rural areas of the U.S., their education, already lacking, will not improve in the foreseeable future. If you’re on a list waiting for promised public housing, this plan will squash that dream. If you live in a high teen pregnancy rate area, expect more of your children having babies.

This is your U.S. Congress at work. Start writing those letters. Click here for the easiest way to email your representatives.

1 comment:

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