These Cuts will Certainly Stimulate

An ‘internal’ Senate Committee memo detailing the latest cuts in the cross hairs of a gang of Senators led by, ahem, Democrat Ben Nelson and Republican Susan Collins include the following:

Eliminations

  • Head Start (I can’t imagine why enriching programs that target disadvantaged children would have any long term benefit anyway);
  • Education for the Disadvantaged (well, giving the little ones a glimmer of hope is probably more cruel than none at all);
  • School Improvement (let’s see – the jobs it would provide to improve crumbling schools PLUS American children getting a leg up in a global economy? Nah. I hear they are converting the bathrooms into classrooms – that cuts down valuable teacher time filling out hall passes.);
  • Child Nutrition (By all means, the US fell to 29th in infant mortality in 2008. We were ranked 12th in 1960. Child nutrition seems a perfectly good place to take the money away);
  • Firefighters (Anyone remember 9/11? Anyone?);
  • Transportation Security Administration (Will this mean I won’t be ordered to all but strip each time I go through the metal detectors at the airport? No, removing my shoes and making sure I have no more than 4 oz of shampoo is now our only defense against the terrorists);
  • Coast Guard (They are building a fence across the American-Mexican boarder – with CHINESE steel – but they don’t want to fund the men and women who patrol the NY Harbor?);
  • Prisons (well with the tanking economy, I am sure we won’t have need for additional funds for this);
  • COPS Hiring – Community Oriented Policing Services Program (This actually makes a lot of sense in relation to the previous cut. I mean, why have more police if the prisons won’t be funded?);
  • Violence Against Women (Bad economy, millions unemployed and frustrated. I’m sure none of this will have an affect on the number of women beaten.);
  • NASA (It might surprise a few that regardless of our economic situation – I think we should support NASA. First, the technology and discoveries they make have drastically impacted our lives – and far more than even the non-stick pan. But we have got to have something to strive for and inspire us. I think there is a place for NASA and I don’t mind the jobs it creates either.);
  • NSF – National Science Foundation (I thought we just got done hating science. Is that back in fashion again? My god, that was quick!);
  • Western Area Power Administration (Ok, I had to look this one up. But from what I can tell, we may want to fund hydroelectric power. Or are we ok with relying on Saudi Arabia? And the report I briefly read indicated that the WAPA – besides having a cool acronym, helped get California out of the energy crisis it was having a few years back. And again – this is infrastructure. This program represents green jobs.);
  • CDC (They got me on this one. I can’t think of a snarky defense for them.);
  • Food Stamps (Let’s do the math: 3.6 million jobs lost since this recession began, 600,000 jobs lost just in January = cutting funds to food stamps. Brilliant.)

All of these eliminations will save us a cool $80 billion.

And what are they looking to reduce?

  • Cut $3.4 billion from public transportation; and
  • Cut $60 billion from school construction.

Figure out your own commentary about this and tell it your Senators. Switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121

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1 Comment

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One response to “These Cuts will Certainly Stimulate

  1. David H.

    I know you aren’t the only person highlighting the insanity in such detail but I am glad that you are. Most of the proposed slashing you describe actually turned out to save money in the long run, at least according to the (independent) Congressional Budget Office, which routinely heralds Head Start, child nutrition programs, increases in police officer hiring and a number of other programs as being wise investments.

    If we have any belief in the country right now (and we have lots of reasons to do so because we’ve shown reslience in ’32, ’74, ’82, ’87 and ’90, 2001 and because if we go down, the rest of the civilized world goes down with us).

    I just rolled over a 401K from my last employer that used to look like something to be happy about but now wouldn’t buy two cheap compact cars. I took the paltry sum left over and told the banker when I opened my IRA that I was 44 and wanted to be an aggressive investor (at least for now). He nodded sheepishly and said that he agreed that it would likely be a five year ride before I saw anything good come out of it. Forget that I lack some confidence in a guy in a cubicle at Chase that dresses only somewhat better than a mannequin at Men’s Wearhouse (sorry for the dig but when I try on the clothes, I decidedly don’t love the way I look). His retirement account is probably in the tank as well.

    My point is this: I borrowed money to buy a car; I borrowed money to buy a co-op; I borrowed money for undergraduate and graduate school. Other than the 30 year note on the co-op, it’s all paid back. I won’t default on the rest. I’m more than happy to borrow on the nation’s behalf so when my sister has little ones I’ll know that we did something to leave them with an economic system that did something for them, mostly giving them the same opportunity to borrow money to do the things that I did.

    I’ll pay the higher taxes and, no, Senator McConnell, it won’t mean that I won’t also invest in American companies – as long as they’re not shipping decent paying jobs to places where 9 year olds with shoes (that they also made) that we donate through thrift shops are making our air conditioners for $1 a day. Why on Earth do we wonder why there is a huge trade deficit with China and that they have become our lender instead of the other way around?

    My only quibble with you is on cutting prison funding. In my view, let’s get petty offenders out of jail so instead of paying $30,000 per year that does absolutely nothing to rehabilitate them, we put them to work actually building something – even a road to nowhere that might become a road to somewhere if someone on Capitol Hill had some vision. If you go along with me on that, I’ll come up with a good job alternative for excess corrections officers. How about paying them the same rate to become truant officers with police power to make sure that kids stay in school and graduate with a skill other than dropping a deep fryer into hydrogenated oil? Gee, that might also solve some of the obesity and Type II diabetes problem that we face right now. That might save a buck or two. Not to sound too rude, but perhaps we could use that money to spay and neuter a few wolves in Alaska instead of burning fossil fuels to shoot at them from helicopters.

    Disclaimer: I’m not looking for a job with the Administration but am always available for free front-porch conversations about what we can do in a gloriously complex country to make it better.

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