Point of View Columns

Read ‘Em and Weep!

There is very little to misunderstand about the G.O.Tea Party agenda when it comes to the federal budget. We have been subjected to a non-stop barrage of statements claiming that balancing the federal budget and eliminating the deficit should be the two most important goals of Congress and the President.

Other priorities like education, infrastructure, the environment and a reliable social safety net have been rendered invisible. The are The Priorities That Shall Not Be Named.

If the Republicans were truly serious about reducing the budget deficit there is no way that they could logically support extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – who are among the wealthiest people on this planet. But their unblinking and unbending and unending commitment to keeping extraordinary wealth sacred was never clearer than during the tax bill negotiations with President Obama in December of last year.

And now the battle for the heart, soul and wallet of America begins in earnest. Keep in mind as you read on that a balanced federal budget is not mandated by law, the Constitution or all economic theories.

Many would argue that the size, growth and vibrancy of the American economy are more important to the future of the United States. But consider what the Republican budget proposals would accomplish:

1. Virtually eliminate federal funding for the National Public Radio and the Public Broadcast System.

2. $1.3 billion will be cut from community health centers around the country and estimates are that more than 3 million people will lose access to health care.

3. Nearly $1 billion would be cut from programs providing food and health care assistance to mothers and children.

4. By cutting funds for Head Start more than 200,000 will lose invaluable access to pre-school programs.

5. By cutting federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood there will be fewer resources available for that organization to provide cancer screenings and other women’s health care services.

6. Tragically, it is estimated that the proposed Republican budget cuts that propose to reduce by half the number of veterans who get housing vouchers and it is estimated that 10,000 veterans will be homeless as a result.

There might be argument over exactly how much pain will be suffered by the American people, but there can be no doubt that there will be pain. And, by the way, whatever happened to the notion of shared sacrifice?

Remember that the tax compromise in December of 2010 reflected a stubborn, adamant and unshakeable stance by the Republicans that tax cuts would have to be extended to the wealthiest Americans in this country.

These are Americans who don’t have to worry about getting housing vouchers and they wouldn’t be caught dead in a public health care clinic. There is no sacrifice being contemplated for the wealthiest Americans who can afford to send their children to chic pre-schools and don’t worry about the cost when their housekeeper goes to the gourmet supermarket.

Now there are Republican doomsayers roaming the countryside claiming that, without a balanced budget this country cannot survive.

Certainly reckless and wasteful spending should be eliminated. And just as certainly the United States is not a private corporation – a balanced budget does not determine the fiscal health of this country or the quality of life of its people.

The economy will not grow and become more robust and vibrant if these cuts – and the many more that are threatened – become a reality. We are being hoodwinked and bamboozled by right wing of the right wing G.O.Tea Party hucksters who are using the Trojan horse of a balanced budget to attack every single aspect of government that helps, assists and aids.

They are determined to create a federal government that no longer serves but only enables the rich to get richer, everyone else be damned.

Right now its winter in America – we need to make sure that this season doesn’t last.

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