I am furious at our government for getting us in to this mess with the sequestration. They put in place ridiculous cuts to the Federal Budget so that they would have no choice but to negotiate a reasonable budget, and then they didn’t do it. The federal government is about to cut the budget in many ways that will hurt an already struggling economy. House Speaker John Boehner will not agree to any of the needed revenue increases that the rich would pay, and so cuts to much-needed programs will begin tonight.
“This discussion about revenue, in my view, is over,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at the White House today. “It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.”
Joel Berg of the Daily Beast writes that the White House has said that 70,000 low-income kids will no longer be able to attend Head Start when this takes effect. Rental assistance will be lost to families who have been struggling through these economic hard times. People, including veterans, who had been homeless in the past, may wind up back on the streets due to more program cuts.
The hungry are in trouble as well. Berg writes that 50 million Americans, including 17 million children, who are right now food insecure, will be in even worse shape now that the sequester is to take effect. 600,000 recipients of the WIC (Women Infants and Children) program would be cut. He writes:
“This highly successful program reduces both hunger and obesity, and has prevented more than 500,000 babies from dying at birth. Yet the sequester, supported by many members of Congress who label themselves as “pro-life,” would remove 600,000 mothers and infants from WIC. Not only is such a cut heartless, it also will cost the nation far more in long-term health care spending than would ever be saved by the cuts. Also under the sequester, federally assisted senior meals programs like Meals on Wheels would serve 4 million fewer meals to seniors.”
SNAP (food stamps) benefits will also be cut taking food from the mouths of those most in need. Many of those getting SNAP benefits are working, elderly or disabled. Some just can’t find work.
These are populations who are already struggling, if not failing, to put food on the table each month. We do not need this. What we need is for the United States Government to stop giving handouts to big corporations, banks and oil companies. This would save billions of dollars.
In the same abcnewsgo.com article cited above, “We are spending money to give tax subsidies to Big Oil in order to drill to the tune of $38 billion, an incentive for them to drill in a period of time where they will make a trillion dollars in profit; not in income, but in profit. So what incentive do they need to drill more than a trillion dollars in profit?”
Joseph Stiglitz wrote in The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers our Future, that the government gave AIG, a $150 billion “bailout” in 2008. He also wrote that between 1990 and 2006 $140 billion was paid out to the poor in the form of welfare by the government. So one company gets more in a single payment than the millions of needy got in 16 years. Our priorities are screwed up. What does this say about this country?
There are other cuts also. There are cuts in defense, education and Medicare. Jobs will be lost. What are those folks supposed to do then? Jobs are not easy to come by. Good jobs are even more scarce. They are cutting a lot of the help they might have gotten.
I have seen firsthand how bad the situation can be. We are currently having a hard time due to the recession and so are some of my neighbors. If you go to a food bank there are lines, sometimes long ones. One person I spoke with said that she would never have imagined she would wind up here if you had asked her 10 years ago. Many of us wouldn’t have. Paychecks are smaller and the cost of living is larger.
This madness that is our current government needs to step back and take a good look at their constituents. Many of us are going hungry and housing is a precarious thing. Yet we allow the big business and large corporations to run all over our Democracy because they have literally bought the government. This is just wrong.