Unless Congress acts, on March 1 automatic and indiscriminate spending cuts will hit key programs, costing our economy more than 1 million jobs and cutting essential services for millions of low- and middle-income families. Congress can act to avert these cuts by taking a more balanced approach to deficit reduction that eliminates wasteful tax loopholes that only benefit a wealthy few.
Just by eliminating a loophole that gives special treatment to corporate jets, for example—at a cost to taxpayers of $3.2 billion over 10 years—Congress could avert cuts that would cost thousands of jobs, hurt millions of disadvantaged students, and force hundreds of thousands of vulnerable families to lose critical nutrition and housing supports this year. Here’s the math:
Congress has some key choices to make in the coming weeks. If they don’t close the loophole for corporate jets:
- 600,000 women and children will lose the critical nutrition assistance they need
- 125,000 families will lose their permanent housing
- More than 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans, will be at risk to go back on the streets
- Students with disabilities will lose critical instruction and support from more than 7,400 teachers and staff
- 1 million disadvantaged students will lose critical education funding and 10,500 teachers and staff will be at risk for losing their jobs
- 70,000 poor children will lose their Head Start and Early Head Start slots as the jobs of 14,000 teachers and other staff are put at risk
The choice should be easy.
Melissa Boteach is Director of the Poverty and Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress.