In a shocking but nevertheless not surprising maneuver U.S. House Republicans are attempting to introduce a bill that will cause serious damage to the already precarious existence of the nation’s 37 million poor.
In a multi-pronged attack the Republicans have endeavored to target the safety net that the nation’s children and those living in poverty rely on.
Programs targeted include food stamps, school lunch programs, and student aid for college, child support enforcement, Medicaid for children, disabled and the elderly. Also day care subsidies for the working poor and all assistance of any sort to legal immigrants is to be eliminated in the GOP’s plan. There appears to be a direct correlation between this attack on the nation’s poor and the impending tax cuts to be handed to the rich, a sort of reverse Robin Hood program.
The breakdown of the cuts proposed are $12 billion in Medicaid cuts, $14 billion in cuts to student aid and loan programs, $4 billion from child support enforcement, $844 million will be cut from food stamps, and day care subsidies are to be eliminated.
In looking at concrete examples of the impact of these proposed policy changes one does not have to look far. In a recent conversation with a Muskegon Heights school teacher, she said, she knows with certainty that the school lunch that is provided for poor students is the only meal many children receive throughout the day. This is a likely reality throughout the country. Another area of impact concerning children is, in the new proposal, Congress would require co-payments or premiums to be charged to every child under Medicaid. When they visit a doctor or receive prescription medicine or have to stay in a hospital. This new reality may result in second thoughts by some parents or care takers in deciding on urgent health care needs for their children.
Cuts in student aid will, no doubt, reduce the numbers of poorer Americans from attending college or university, thereby limiting their potential to achieve their goals, and causing a further stratification of society. The elimination of child support enforcement further reveals the phony nature of the "family values" party, giving the nod and thumbs up sign to dead beat dads.
Food stamp cuts will negatively impact about 300,000 working poor and immigrants, rolling back the welcome wagon of the "land of the free and the home of the brave."
The ending of day car subsidies will impact 330,000 children of the working poor. All this in time for Christmas.
If these proposals go through there will be more than $50 billion in spending cuts, with simultaneous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The Republicans called these proposals "tough choices." In reality they were very specific, targeted choices in a war on the poor, with the underlying message of "We don’t’ give a damn about you." If memory is not too short, these actions could cause a shift in control of the House and the Senate next year and in ’08, if the poor, and those who care about them, will vote.