Thursday, November 17, 2005

Budget Cuts That Crush Those at the Bottom

Possibly as earlier as today, the U. S. House of Representatives could vote on a budget reduction proposal that would cut $54 billion from federal initiatives designed to assist the weakest, most vulnerable and poorest Americans.

This comes at the same time that many in the House seek to enact legislation that would provide $70 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of the population.

All of this comes at a time of war, recovery from several natural disasters and the continuing threat of domestic terror.

Frankly, something is out of whack here.

Thankfully, people appear to be waking up!

Representative Chris Shays (R-Conn.) said in a recent statement, "The poor bear an unfair burden of the proposed reductions. I'm concerned about cuts to higher-education funding, child care, child welfare and food stamps. These are simply the wrong priorities."

Mr. Shays is correct and he stands on the moral high ground from a values perspective.

Another Republican, Congressman Jim Leach (R-Iowa) expressed his opinion in a statement, "...the proposal of significantly reducing student loans, food stamps and a host of other social programs at a time of many wrenches in the economy appears un-compelling."

Thank you, Mr. Leach for the clear-headed analysis that is also ethically on target.

Urban areas are being devastated by an ever tightening public policy finance strategy that unfairly focuses on the poor. Dallas and every other urban area will be big losers if the budget-cutting, tax-cutters prevail.

Contact (call, fax, email) your Congressperson in the U. S. House of Representatives and do so today. Simply tell him or her to oppose further budget cuts that will hurt and deepen the poverty of your low-income neighbors.

If you need to find out how to do so, go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm for information.

While you are at it, urge them to reconsider any further tax cuts for those at the very top of our economy.

Your city and my city will be better off for your action!

10 comments:

John Greenan said...

I have doubts Jeb Hensarling cares what I think about this issue.

Anonymous said...

Actually, John, you might be surprised. With the President's poll numbers at historic lows, and Congressmen facing mid-term 2006 elections, everyone in the Capitol is wary of voting with the President.

Moreover, if the vote is close at all, it really is important that people call their Congressmen and Senators because the staffs use those calls as informal constituent polling. If people in their district are aware of the issue and have strong feelings, they do pay attention.

At the end of the day Hensarling may not care what you think, but he will care about saving his political neck. We need more action and feedback in politics from voters, not less. Calling your representative to let him you know are paying attention and holding him to account matters.

Todd Lollar said...

I emailed my congressman about this problem through Sojourner's website this week. Would you like to reschedule our meeting soon?

Greg said...

Success, all, the bill was defeated! With the House now in recess, it looks like the planned entitlement cuts are dead!

Larry James said...

Unfortunately, Greg, this is not exactly how it turned out. Early this morning after much arm-twisting, etc., the House did pass a toned down version of the bill that still cuts programs designed to assist our poorest neighbors while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, but not by as much as first planned. See the Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/17/AR2005111700931.html?referrer=email&referrer=email for the full story.

Now, the fight shifts to the reconciliation process between House and Senate. Please contact your Senators and your Representative to express your opinion on this important legislation.

Dallasfan said...

Larry,

I stuggle with this a lot. I am a conservative and believe that the least amount of government is best at ALL times. I believe through the years the government has taken over the role of the church in caring for the poor. Granted there are many things that the government can do that the church cannot do, i.e. job creation, health benefits, etc. But the BEST thing that the government can do is to get out of the way. I struggle with many things on your site because you seem to measure the governement with the standard that is set out for christians and the church. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

DallasFan, the church will NEVER have the capacity to do the work you suggest. The only way to address a problem as pervasive and entrenched as poverty is through government action.

Larry James said...

DallasFan, since our government is of the "of the people, by the people and for the people," our government can be what we make it since we are it! Today funds can be provided to local communities to get done what needs to be done. This includes faith-based groups. There is a very vile, unhealthy, evil movement underway in our nation to "starve the beast" of public life and governence that is killing the poor. In some cases less is more when it comes to government. However, in many case less is simply less and it is unjust.

Dallasfan said...

Larry,

I fail to see the "evil" you speak about concerning starving the beast. I believe that the government has created a monster of an underclass that looks to the government for everything. A recent example of this would be New Orleans. New Orleans, I have heard, has per capita more people of public support than any other city in the US. It is the epitome of the failings of our entitlement mentality. There are those that I saw on TV screaming at the government to give them their houses back and where was there money. It was a sad day in America to see people so helpless and reliant on the government. Where is the responsibility? Recently FEMA has relented from its 1 Dec deadline that subsides would stop for reimbursement for hotels. I say that the government has footed the bill for the past 2 months, when is enough enough?

Larry, it is my belief that there were failures in New Orleans of the government at every level. But the greatest failure was at the local and state levels. But government aside, where was the personal responsibility to have a stockpile of food and water. I have worked in the nner city of Houston and I know that it would be hard for people to sit aside things, just in case, something might happen. They barely have enough to get by wihtout the thought of something catestrophic happening. But should that preclude us from teaching personal responsibility. This just one example. I do not mean to sound hardened, because I know that there are people that are working hard to get out and make a better life for themselves. I guess my point is that we should be setting people up to survive on their own rather than teaching them to rely on the government to meet their needs. Thanks for the space and I hope I didn't ramble too much.

Larry James said...

Dallas Fan, I could be wrong, but I bet you haven't spent the kind of time in the inner city that allows you to know the people to whom you refer here. I have been working in the heart of Dallas for almost 12 years and have lived in the community for almost 7. Many of my friends are very poor. Your analysis assumes a one-for-one connection between poverty, "entitlement" and a lack of personal responsibility. Such assessments simply break down under the weight of daily evidence here.

No one is discouraging personal responsibilty anywhere here that I have witnessed. As to the myth of vast numbers of persons being on the "public dole"--welfare reform put an end to that even as a possibility.

The fact is we have a growing underclass not because of the government, but because of the decisions made by the majority of us. Poor education, substandard housing, inadequate health care, insufficient wages--the list goes on and on--have resulted in what we see today. Are there irresponsibble poor folks? Certainly? Just as there are rich folks who fall into the same category. But it is far more complex than you suggest, I can tell you. Most people who pontificate about the poor haven't a clue about the reality of poverty and couldn't survive a month on what my poor friends receive from their hard work or from the public coffers. And I haven't even gotten to the issues associated with racial and class bias. . .don't get me started.