Center for American Progress

What America Is Saying . . . About Budget Priorities
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What America Is Saying . . . About Budget Priorities

Earlier this year, President Bush proposed over $200 billion in budget cuts to domestic entitlement programs. Americans are outraged that the president’s budget priorities would hit so many struggling, low-income families, while extending tax cuts for the wealthy. On November 3, the Senate passed a bill with $35 billion in cuts targeting prescription drugs, student loans, and agriculture subsidies, and which opens Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The House is getting set to vote on a $54 billion plan that would severely affect Medicaid, student loans, food stamps, agricultural subsidies, and everything from foster care to school lunch programs. The cuts would hurt children, veterans, immigrants, and low-income families—arguably the most vulnerable among us. Across the country, Americans are questioning the budget priorities of the leadership, and they are wondering why those with the least are asked to sacrifice the most. Here is a sampling of what America is saying about budget priorities. (Source: Jonathan Weisman, Senate Passes Plan to Cut $35 Billion From Deficit, Washington Post.)

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa World

October 30, 2005 – Letters “[My family wants] to see funding restored, not cut for critical programs like Medicaid, food stamps, vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and nutrition and education services for the poor.

“I understand that this same budget proposal calls for $70 billion in new tax breaks for the wealthiest, well-connected citizens. We already have too much corporate welfare and provisions that take tax dollars from the poor and give them to the rich. In the spirit of fairness and compassion, Congress needs to restore funding to social programs that save lives and give people a chance to get on their feet.…”

Fresno, CA – Fresno Bee

November 2, 2005 – Opinion

“The average food stamp benefit is not a lot – $86 per person per month. You'd think that during wartime and natural disaster, the president and Congress would call for broad-based, shared sacrifice among Americans. “Instead, they're calling for cuts to programs that aid the nation's most vulnerable people – the poor, the elderly and children. That shows their sense of priorities. The food stamp cuts now go to the House Budget Committee, which should turn back the mean-spirited attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.”

Orlando, FL – Orlando Sentinel

November 1, 2005 – Letter to the Editor “I feel terrible that my grasp of our governmental financial difficulties failed to realize that feeding people was one of the major factors in our insane national spending. I didn't realize that funding the war in Iraq was just good business sense.

“Perhaps our elected governmental officials can show us citizens by their example how to cut down on their daily caloric intake and save us taxpayers some money. “I am wondering, though, when do you think the last time was that one of them actually missed a meal?”

Eugene, OR – The Register-Guard

October 29, 2005 – Letter to the Editor

“I had a family member who was unemployed for three years. He got temporary work now and then, but had it not been for food stamps and unemployment he would have been living under a bridge somewhere. “I don't know how Congress can even think about cutting these programs.… Can't they leave some crumbs for the most needy of our society?”

Columbus, OH – Columbus Dispatch

October 29, 2005 – Letter to the Editor

“I have a friend who lives with her daughter and her granddaughter, and they are struggling. The woman works days, while her daughter goes to school, and her granddaughter is in day care. At night, my friend babysits with her granddaughter, while her daughter works. “But the struggle comes from trying to maintain this lifestyle – the two working women don't make enough money while they work to buy their food and other necessities, pay the rent, the utilities, buy gas for the two old cars that get them to and from work, school and day care. So they get help with food stamps, student loans and the cost of day care. If one of them gets sick, they can't pay that bill either. Medicaid has to take care of that. “Still, Congress wants to cut off the food stamps and the help with day-care costs, the cost of doctor bills and medicine, and the daughter's student loans. Why? So they can give the wealthy people of this country more tax breaks. “The people who need the money continually have to struggle now to make ends meet, but President Bush's Congress prefers to take away what help they get. “Give them a break, and cancel this plan for ‘Robin Hood in reverse.’ It's selfish, ridiculous, outrageous, and worse – it's un-American.”

Richmond, IN – Palladium-Item

October 28, 2005 – Letter

“The founders of our great country were forward thinking and practical people, but most of all I believe they had a profound sense of justice. They knew that it is the everyday people that make a nation great. I'm fed up with watching politicians invest our nations resources in large corporations whose only allegiance is to the bottom line. Big corporations did not found the United States. I have never heard of a corporation sacrificing its life for freedom and equality, but after years of support by our tax dollars, corporations sure are quick to move to countries where they can pay people pennies a day. Would our founders call that justice? “It's time to start investing in the people who really care about this country. It's time to invest more in everyday folks who work full-time just to pay the bills instead of pulling the rug out from under their feet. I'm tired of being trickled down on by rich politicians and corporate executives. We the people are the future of this land.”

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