February 19, 2011

The Great Tea Party Sell Out: The Truth About the House Republican Budget

(Updated Below)

What the House Republican budget would do

  • Cut about $60 billion in spending from last year’s levels in many domestic programs, including education, environmental protection and community services.
  • Eliminate federal family planning and teen pregnancy prevention grants. 
  • Cut the Social Security Administration, which the agency has warned might force it to furlough workers.
  • Prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing regulautions curbing emissions of gases that cause global warming.
  • Reduce Pell Grants for lower-income college students by $5.6 billion.
  • Cut $747 million in food aid for poor pregnant women and women with children up to the age of 5.
  • Halt financing for the Americorps national service program, which pays people to do public service jobs and encourages volunteerism.
  • Prevent the administration from enforcing a proposed rule making it harder for students at for-profit colleges to get federal loans and grants.

Meanwhile—and please brace yourselves for this shocking revelation, dear reader—the bill leaves corporate welfare and military spending essentially unscathed.[1]  Let me repeat that: House Republicans have proposed $60 billion in spending cuts that will hurt middle-class and lower-income Americans—yet they refuse to touch the Corporate Welfare Queens and Parasites in the Military Industrial Complex. 

There’s a word for this: Immoral.

Even if you’re a Ron Paul-loving libertarian who believes we need to scale back social welfare, you have to admit that this is the wrong way to do it.  You don’t start by taking subsidies away from people at the bottom.  You don’t start by slashing food aid programs.  You start with the Corporate Welfare Queens, who currently receive around $90 billion every year from taxpayers.  You start with the Military Industrial Complex, which, when all is said and done, receives over $1 trillion every year from taxpayers. 

I can’t tell you how sick I’ve grown listening to conservatives tell us that the days of reckless spending are over, that it’s time we all tighten our belts and make some sacrifices.  Bullshit.  The poor and middle class have made enough sacrifices.  In fact, we’ve been the only ones making sacrifices.  We’re in this shitty condition—unemployed, underemployed, losing our homes, watching our 401Ks struggle to recover—because politicians and their evil corporate buddies have spent the past several decades screwing us over. 

It’s time that Washington’s fuck fest with Big Corporations comes to an end.  It’s time that we start following the example of all those brave men and women in Wisconsin and finally stand up for ourselves. 
I agree we need to cut spending.  Absolutely, let’s cut spending.  Let’s start by ending the war on Afghanistan, which will cost us an additional $100 billion this year.  One hundred billion dollars for a completely insane, immoral, unnecessary, and ultimately unwinnable war.  And then let’s go all the way and finally end the American Empire, which benefits nobody but our politicians and all the sociopaths at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and the like.  I’m all for national defense.  But I don’t see why we need to be the world’s police force.  I don’t see why we need to have over 1,000 overseas military bases, bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Guam, Greenland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Bulgaria, Brazil, Spain, Diego Garcia, the Philippines, and many other countries.  I don’t see why need to continue spending as much on defense as the entire rest of the world combined

And then once we’re done with the Military Industrial Complex, let’s move on to the other Corporate Welfare Queens.  No more bailouts for big banks, no more “direct cash payments” for agricultural firms and automobile manufacturers, no more “loans, research, and marketing support” for every other corporate slimeball who can afford to buy himself or herself a congressperson.

That’s the responsible, moral way to cut spending. 

So please take a stand and contact your congressman and senators and demand that they cut military spending and corporate welfare, not programs that people actually need.  

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[1] Over the past several days, Republicans voted against amendments which would have: (1) cut $19 billion from the Defense budget, (2) prohibited the Pentagon from sponsoring cars in Nascar races, (3) eliminated the Innovative Research Fund, (4) eliminated money allocated for alternative energy in the Pentagon, and (5) cut the Pentagon’s research and development budget by 10%.  As far as I can tell, the only defense cut they approved was an amendment to eliminate $450 million in funding to develop a second engine for the F-35 fighter jet, hardly a controversial vote given that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has long demanded that this program be cut.

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Update: Please see Kevin Zeese's excellent article, The Security Budget vs. the Necessities of Americans

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