Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/27/2005 | Before hurting the poor, look elsewhere for cuts
Posted on Sun, Nov. 27, 2005
The Budget Battle
Before hurting the poor, look elsewhere for cuts
By John S. Irons
Both houses of the Republican-led Congress recently passed budget changes that cut benefits for low- and middle-income Americans, including cuts to Medicaid, student loans, food stamps, and enforcement of child support. The impacts of these cuts include an estimated 70,000 people who would lose health-care coverage; $8 billion in new charges to student borrowers and their families; and an estimated 225,000 people who would lose food stamps.
These budget choices are being sold in the name of fiscal responsibility, and the right wing of Congress claims that this must be done for the good of the economy and the federal budget. They ask: “What’s wrong with a little belt-tightening, especially in a time of crisis?”
The sham is, of course, that these particular cuts are not necessary. We have other options, other choices. As a nation, we do not need to abandon long-held values that demand at least minimal supports for our most needy, who cannot tighten their belts any further. Members of both political parties need to broaden the debate and offer more and different alternatives to the current status quo in Washington, and to move beyond the “cut vs. no cut” debate.