By Cathy Talbott
“Well, thank God those LIBERALS were defeated in the midterm elections!” This was a comment made to me by a person living on SSI. I had to ask him, “What liberals and what do we do now?” The corporate plunder and take over of our America is nearly complete. The assault on the people has only just begun.
So now that Obama doesn’t have those “liberals” to contend with, what does the administration do but propose more draconian cuts to programs that benefit low-income Americans. Life-saving programs that are on the sacrificial altar are the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), community service block grants, Ameri-Corp, and food stamps. These programs have been a life preserver for many communities in Southern Illinois, where I live. (I came here after losing a job in 1980, becoming virtually homeless for six weeks until friends offered my family a place to live.)
LIHEAP will lose $2.5 billion, down from 2009’s $5.1 billion. 8.9 million households are expected to need help this year. The cuts will eliminate 3.5 million households from assistance this year. How many will be affected here is not known by this author at this time, but even a few are too many!
The White House intends to reduce community block grants by half, from $700 million to $350 million. According to David Bradley, director of the National Community Action Foundation, “Once the Obama administration throws a poverty program in the water, it starts a feeding frenzy.” The Republicans will now ask for this cut to be $405 million.
Following $11.9 billion in cuts to the food stamp program, an additional $2.2 billion in cuts will pay for the child-nutrition bill that Michelle Obama championed. According to the Food Research and Action Center, this will mean that a family of four will receive $59 less per month starting in 2013. At the times I had to rely on the food stamp program, they never covered the entire month and I am a very frugal shopper and fed my children simple meals. This would have meant my family would go without some other necessity to buy food.
According to Arthur Delaney, reporter for the Huffington Post, although more than 100 Democrats protested and promised to block the child nutrition bill due to these cuts, they were persuaded by the White House to back down and fall in line.
A total of $43 billion will be taken from domestic and international programs (including $544 million in international food aid). However, military spending will be increased by $8 billion.
With the cooperation of both Democrats and Republicans, billions of dollars were added to the deficit with an extension of tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Obviously, deficit reduction will not come from the pockets of the super rich. The poorer you are, the more vulnerable you become and the more you’ll pay for the burdens of deficit reduction.
We need to ask ourselves, “Where is the Party that represents us?” Why aren’t the Democrats pushing for tax increases on the wealthy and rich corporations that have more than enough to pay for these shortfalls? We should be demanding, “No more sacrifices from the working class! We demand that the social wealth created from our blood, sweat and tears over generations be used to secure the future for us and our families!”