Tuesday, February 08, 2005

They take action, too.

From the UCC Justice and Peace Network:

The President released a $2.57 trillion budget on Monday, February 7, which gives a significant boost to military spending while cutting discretionary spending (other than defense and homeland security) by 1 percent. For the first time in years, Congress will now be left to consider measures to reduce funding for nearly 150 programs that provide vital social services.

The potential impact of these budget proposals on our nation's most vulnerable populations should spark a national debate. Proposed cuts to critical safety net programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, veterans' health services, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and the Earned Income Credit, among many others, signal a new era of government irresponsibility. The budget also includes $138 billion in cuts for mandatory programs which will result in a loss of income to states of $45 billion in Medicaid payments and the elimination of 200,000 to 300,000 poor people from the Food Stamp program.

Further bad news comes from the President's pledge to cut the deficit in half by 2009 (now at a record $427 billion this year) while still making room for continuing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which appear in this year's budget. In January, the President asked for a special off-budget appropriation of $80 billion for war efforts in Iraq. The budget seeks to make the 2001 tax cuts permanent at a cost of $130 billion over the next five years. The growing red ink will undoubtedly entice deficit hawks in Congress to call for deeper cuts in essential programs.

Congress can act boldly and creatively to oppose budget cuts in human services and should instead fund the FY2006 budget by scaling back tax cuts to the wealthy, closing corporate tax loopholes, and holding military and war spending in check. To send a message to your member of Congress, click http://www.ucctakeaction.org/ctt.asp?u=3735004&l=77743.

More here, under the pregnant title "Whose Services Would Jesus Cut?"

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