Friday, August 10, 2012

People, morals and budgets

As many leaders from the faith community have stated recently, budgets are moral documents.  How we decide to spend and plan to spend resources impacts people in various ways both good and bad. 

It appears we stand at a crossroads moment of decision.  Will we appropriate the resources necessary to promote opportunity, education, progress and fairness?  Or, will we slash, cut and destroy program after program that moves us forward as a nation and a society? 

Budgets reflect choices. 

Budgets affect people .

Budgets spotlight what we value. 

Budget discussions now underway in Washington and in Austin will have clear outcomes in the inner city communities/neighborhoods of Dallas, Texas.  The decisions made over the next year will set the course for entire segments of our population in this city.  For this reason, I'm compelled to talk about the current budget battle. 

Congressman Raul Ryan (R-WI) put forward a budget that, if adopted, will wipe out much needed resources for Texas and for Dallas.  In fact, the Ryan budget proposes cuts to the federal budget three times larger than the automatic cuts already set for January 2013! 

Our poorest neighbors will suffer most. Our children will suffer.  In fact, we will all be affected in a negative way. 

Here's what the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities said about the Ryan plan: 

Reducing Federal Deficits Without a Significant Revenue Increase Would Cost Texas Billions

If significant new revenue isn’t included, efforts to reduce federal deficits would almost certainly damage Texas’ economic recovery and future economic growth by drastically cutting federal investments in schools, roads and bridges, safe communities, and disaster relief.

The House-passed budget from Congressman Paul Ryan is an example of the kind of approach Congress would take if it rejects deficit reduction that includes revenues. Under Ryan’s plan, Texas would lose an estimated 22 percent or $2 billion in federal funding for education, clean water, law enforcement, and other state and local services in 2014 alone.

According to a report released yesterday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C., Ryan’s plan also would shift other very large costs to states by reducing sharply federal funding for Medicaid (in addition to repealing the health reform law), and likely by cutting deeply funding for highway construction and other transportation projects.

Deficit-reduction shouldn’t come at the expense of Texas’ economic future. If Congress doesn’t take a balanced approach that includes revenues as well as spending cuts it will damage our ability to educate our children, build roads and bridges, and have clean water and safe communities – all key elements of a strong future economy.

Federal funding for states, counties, and cities very likely would be decimated by an unbalanced approach to deficit reduction in the next decade. That’s because there’s broad bipartisan agreement that significant deficit reduction is needed, but federal policy makers also agree in broad terms that deficit-reduction savings from other major parts of the budget – defense, Medicare and Social Security – should be limited during that period. Federal funding for states and local areas would thus be one of the few remaining sources of large potential savings.

These cuts likely would bring federal aid to state and local governments to historic lows. By 2021, under the Ryan budget, federal grant programs for states, counties, and cities likely would be less than half the average of the last 35 years.

These cuts would add to deep cuts Congress already made to state and local aid last year and deep cuts that Texas made in 2011 to education and other state services vital to economic growth. The $5.3 billion cut in state aid for pre-K-12 public schools has already reduced local school district staffing by more than 25,000 jobs, with more cuts expected for the 2012-13 school year. State budget cuts to Medicaid provider rates have endangered health access for low-income Texans, with only 31 percent of Texas physicians now willing to accept all new Medicaid patients, down from 67 percent in 2000.

This is important analysis. 

Budgets affect people. 

Severe budget cuts affect the poorest, weakest, most vulnerable people most severely. 

Take the time to read the full report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities here

Our challenge today is not only economic, it's moral and extremely human as well.


Anonymous said...

What happened to your August 4th and 5th blogs?

Larry James said...

I don't know. I'll check to see if I can find out. I did not remove them. In the past blogspot has "dropped" posts for some reason, I assume a technical glitch. I can assure you I didn't remove the posts because of comments re my friend, Rev Gerald Britt. I did remove one inappropriate comment, but not the posts or other comments.

Anonymous said...

"Budgets are moral documents. They clearly reveal the priorities of a family, a church, an organization, a city, or a nation. Budget shows what we most care about how and that compares to other things we care about. So, when politicians present their budgets, they are really presenting their priorities. It is worth paying close attention."
God’s Politics Jim Wallis

Randy Mayeux, Dallas

Anonymous said...

Obama has never presented a budget. Does that mean he is not moral?

I know this; A country, the same as a family cannot survive indefinately living above its means. Hard choices will have to be made. It may already be too late. We have to have a change in leadership. Many people voted for Obama thinking they would get free stuff. Throwing money at projects that do not work is not the answer. Making millions of people dependent in exchange for votes will make matters worse. Wake up America. There should be collective embarrassment at advertising for food stamps.

Anonymous said...

Obama has decided now to gut the most effective provision of the Clinton administration---that you have to work to receive welfare. Now you can just sit home and wait for your check from the people who work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:52, I really hate to burst your bubble, but the rules about welfare and work have not changed at all. Did you not see Pres Clinton going ballistic at the ridiculous assertion that has not a bit of truth to it? Geez, can't we keep it honest here?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:06, since when is Clinton our moral benchmark? As Anon 3:52 alluded to, the work provision is in Obama's proposal that will be aired before Congress

Anonymous said...

rather there is no work provision in the pending legislation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:06

Clinton passed welfare to work in 1996 only because he had no choice. He had promised to reforn welfare and after vetoing two previous bills, and with a Republican congress, he passed it. Democrats have never liked the work provision. Obama decided to end the work requirment. He did not say, "I will gut the work requirment." Instead he has granted "waivers" to the states so they can do what they want. This serves the purpose of making people dependent and securing more votes in the election.

Do you really expect Clinton to agree with Romney that Obama gutted the work requirment? Those Dems have to stick together.

Anonymous said...

One thing you can say about the Dems- they will compromise any belief and any morality. Their goal- political power