November 4, 2005
Proposed Budget Cuts Are an Outrage
J. Dionne Jr.
--The politicians who favor cutting taxes on the wealthy typically
proclaim their desire to encourage hard work, personal responsibility
and family values.
So why are
House Republican leaders pushing a budget that, when it comes
to our neediest fellow citizens, is a direct assault on ... hard
work, personal responsibility and family values?
some things those leaders don't want you to know. Their cuts in
food stamps would eliminate from the program 225,000 people in
working households with children. According to the Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities, some 330,000 children in working
families would lose child care assistance because of inadequate
funding in the bill.
who don't live with their families ought to support their kids
when they can afford to, right? Then why does the House propose
cuts for child support enforcement?
Do you honor
families who help foster kids? Then why cut $397 million in foster
care payments to relatives who take in children removed from their
parents' homes? Isn't it remarkable that congressional conservatives
who think we can afford $70 billion worth of tax cuts
in this budget -- meaning the budget actually increases the deficit
-- can't come up with that $400 million for foster kids?
It gives ``compassionate conservatism'' a whole new meaning.
there are the deep cuts in Medicaid. In their package of $50 billion
in cuts over five years, the House Republicans are proposing $9.4
billion in Medicaid cuts, which would grow to $45 billion over
the next 10 years. Millions of children -- especially those in
low-income working families -- could be charged higher
co-payments and premiums. Studies show such increases in out-of-pocket
costs have their greatest impact on Americans toward the bottom
of the income scale who go without the health care they need.
listening to 44 members of Congress who wrote a letter last April
calling on their leaders to eliminate the Medicaid cuts and instead
create a bipartisan commission to study the future of Medicaid:
is the largest health care program in the country, serving over
50 million people including more than one in four children. ...
As lawmakers, we know that any changes made to this program will
have consequences for these individuals. We also know that health
care is expensive and that our federal health care programs should
get value for the money we spend, improve the health of people
who depend upon them, and be accountable for results. We therefore
believe that policy should drive the budget and not the budget
of Congress are not knee-jerk liberals. Every one of the 44 is
a House Republican. They were led by Rep. Heather Wilson of New
Mexico, and their ranks include such GOP stalwarts as Tom Davis
and Frank Wolf of Virginia, Chris Smith of New Jersey, Phil English
and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
They can't in conscience now vote for this budget, can they?
don't we have to make ``hard choices'' to cut the deficit? These
cuts may be hard on the poor, but they are not ``hard choices''
for most House Republicans who are carefully sparing their own
constituencies and interest groups. A hard choice for them would
be to cut tax pork, that dizzying list of ``tax incentives'' they
have showered on oil companies and investors, and to halt the
repeal of the inheritance tax on large fortunes. But, no, foster
families and hungry kids have to face cuts so we can afford to
eliminate taxes altogether on rich sons and daughters inheriting
money from the old man or the old lady. There's a work incentive
to wax so angry, but I'm aghast that some serious people are giving
congressional conservatives credit for ``finally facing up to
the deficit.'' If House leaders were serious about the deficit,
they would admit that you can't finance a war with tax cuts. If
the administration believes so deeply in our endeavor in Iraq,
it should have the courage to ask Americans to pay for it through
a temporary war tax. If we need a big increase in military and
homeland security spending to fight terrorism, why not acknowledge
that the tax cuts the administration has pushed into law no longer
make sense? If we want to help hurricane victims, why ask poor
Americans to take on most of the task of financing our collective
By all means,
let's get serious about the deficit. But what's going on in the
House is not serious. It's merely an outrage.
2005, Washington Post Writers Group