The 2010 elections provided Republicans with a majority in the Federal House of Representatives, and a large number of Republican Governors and Republican led state houses. They ran on a “smaller, more efficient” government platform that resonated with some voters, but they also promised jobs. That promise, the creation of an atmosphere that would lead to jobs, resonated with many, many voters who were quick to vote with the jobs platform. Who could blame them? With more than 3 million jobless, and the numbers not improving in the past two years, voting for the party that promised jobs made a lot of sense, leaving the party that had not been able to impact job growth all that much. What the electorate didn’t think through, though, was how they were going to get that touted “smaller, more efficient government”, and that it would impede the jobs issue yet again.
What voters are seeing now is exactly what was bound to happen. With the focus on cutting governmental spending, not on jobs, jobs are being cut, and will continue to be cut in the next two years. If tax cuts equaled jobs then there would have been millions of jobs created during the 8 years President Bush was in office. After all, he created those first tax cuts that were re-granted in 2010. The fact that we started losing jobs, then went into massive layoffs during those years seem to have disappeared from memory. Tax cuts will not create jobs, industry has to, and as long as there are tax cuts to companies that outsource our industry, there will be no job growth. There will be more layoffs, though.
Worst of all, low income seniors and median to low income families in the country will be hardest hit with the “sacrifices” that “everybody” is asked to make. Proposed budget cuts by the Republicans include the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). With the cost of all energies rising, reducing this program by $2.5 billion dollars will mean that millions of households will not be able to get the help they need to keep their homes warm in the winter months. This will impact the 8.9% of elderly who are living in poverty as well as millions of children who have no ability to impact their circumstances.
Another cut that has yet to see much press is the plan to strip Planned Parenthood and family planning programs of all funding from the Federal government. With Title X funding being zeroed out,we will without a doubt see a rise in unplanned teenage pregnancy, cervical cancer, breast cancer, AID’s, and increased health care costs. This in turn will cause a deeper cycle of poverty. The costs of these illnesses will bankrupt many more, who will then enter the poverty statistics.
States are currently balancing their budgets on the backs of the poor as well. Cutting funding to schools, freezing teacher’s pay, and cutting funds to medical insurance and food assistance programs, all in the name of tax cuts. “Tax cuts essential to job growth have left us with a budget gap,” is what they will say. This ignores the layoffs from closing schools, closing medical facilities for the poor, federal family planning centers and the LIHEAP program.
Finally, I don’t want to forget about the cuts to NPR, Public Television, and Federal Pell Grants and Loans. These educational programs have served our children well, and many have made good use of them. Saying goodbye to Sesame Street makes sense if you are a 40 year old day trader, but your grandchildren will miss that street. Federal education programs have put many through college, making good public servants. Some of those same servants are those who are calling for cuts to these programs. Having no access to these programs will prevent even the most curious young person from gaining a great education and becoming a productive society member and tax payer.
Any good household has to balance their budget. There are programs that are bloated and need to be slim lined. Budgets are balanced in two ways in this day and age. The first step is to stop giving away your income (tax cuts) for no good reason (such as in the name of jobs that never happened). The second step is to streamline your bills, and pay them on time. It is time to quit giving tax cuts to those who have not created a job in the United States in the last year and get busy working on the rest. Otherwise, we will simply have created a never ending Under Class.
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