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Political madness and sequestration are poised to devastate the safety-net
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Wednesday Jan 30th, 2013 3:18 AM
According to recent available statistics poverty is already so extreme more than 28% of Oakland's children live in poverty throughout the city, and may be going to bed hungry, cold or homeless at night. Additionally, the poverty level in Oakland is 43.3% more than throughout greater California, and the poverty level is higher by 57.7 % in comparison to the rest of the nation. Spending cuts known as sequestration that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, will make the situation in Oakland much worse!

Political madness and sequestration are poised to devastate the safety-net

By Lynda Carson - January 30, 2013

Oakland - On Jan. 23, the Washington Post reported that top leaders in both major political parties predicted that massive across-the-board spending cuts to the nation's domestic programs and the Pentagon known as "sequestration" will go into effect on March 1, as scheduled. At least temporarily, according to the report.

"It's going to happen," said Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois, saying that Republicans in both chambers are determined to allow $1.2 trillion in spending cuts (sequestration) to occur during the next decade. At this point many politicians already believe that the $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts agreed upon by both major political parties, are going to happen.

In their efforts to protect Wall Street and the nation's wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes, Washington's politicians on both sides of the aisle including the Obama administration have failed to protect the middle class and the poor from $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the board spending cuts known as sequestration, that have been set into motion for the next 10 years. Making matters worse, many politicians are screaming for additional spending cuts on top of the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts scheduled to happen, and are viciously attacking Social Security and Medicare in the process.

Around $110 billion in spending cuts are set to occur on March 1 that will devastate the nation's anti-poverty programs despite the rampant poverty levels that are already present in Oakland, and other low-income communities all across the nation.

According to recent available statistics poverty is already so extreme more than 28% of Oakland's children live in poverty throughout the city, and may be going to bed hungry, cold or homeless at night. Additionally, the poverty level in Oakland is 43.3% more than throughout greater California, and the poverty level is higher by 57.7 % in comparison to the rest of the nation.

This includes a staggering 19% of Oakland's adult population that lives in extreme poverty, with around 10% of the population in the city receiving assistance for their housing needs from the Oakland Housing Authority. With the help of food stamps, housing assistance and other anti-poverty programs to meet their needs, some low-income families manage to avoid famine and homelessness, while others that are less fortunate fall through the safety-net and end up hungry, destitute, in homeless encampments or shelters. Some of the poverty stricken individuals even ending up dead on the cold violent mean streets of the city, as a direct result of the lack of resources to meet their needs.

Meanwhile, in spite of the lack of resources resulting in hunger or famine for tens of thousands of low-income families in Oakland and other low-income communities all across the nation, the federal government is set on March 1 to impose more massive spending cuts to the nation's domestic anti-poverty programs.

Among the mean spirited spending cuts to occur on March 1, around 900,000 participants from the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program are being dropped from the program, the budget for the Indian Health Service would be cut by $356 million, 100,000 fewer people would be served by homeless assistance grants, 80,000 fewer low-income children would receive child-care, 1,000,000 fewer patients will be served in community health centers across the nation, including an estimated 45,000 low-income women that would not receive breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Additionally, the scheduled catastrophic spending cuts also threaten the nation's federal housing programs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Including $1.53 billion in spending cuts from HUD’s Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance (Housing Choice Voucher Program), $772 million in Section 8 project-based rental assistance, $325 million from the public housing operating fund, including an additional cut of $154 million from public housing capital funds, $31 million from elderly senior housing, $14 million from housing for people with disabilities, $27 million from housing for people with AIDS, plus $74 million from the USDA's Rural Housing program, and $156 million from homeless assistance grants.

In their own assessment of the dire situation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 250,000 voucher holders will lose their housing if sequestration (spending cuts) takes effect, resulting in nearly one million people losing their federal housing assistance and being placed at risk of homelessness.

As the clock ticks down to March 1, massive spending cuts scheduled to devastate the nation's safety-net are barely a heart beat away from serving up a full menu of famine, poverty, destitution, homelessness, hopelessness, death and starvation to poor people in Oakland, and other low-income areas all across the nation.

Many of Washington's wealthy elitist politicians continue to ignore the catastrophic effects of the $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to occur during the next decade that they agreed upon, known as sequestration. Meanwhile, other politicians are scheming to make matters worse for the poor by demanding that all of the spending cuts that are scheduled to hit the Pentagon should instead be shifted to the nation's domestic programs, including the safety-net, Social Security and Medicare.

If the right-wing political extremists have it their way this would wreak total havoc and devastation throughout society as we know it, resulting in millions of people starving on the streets and homeless, with no assistance available to them from agencies that once proudly served our nation's needs.

War against the poor is definitely being waged without mercy by both major political parties in Washington that have agreed upon monstrous political deals shielding Wall Street, the rich and super rich from ever paying their fair share of taxes, while demanding deep devastating spending cuts (sequestration) to the nation's domestic and anti-poverty programs. Programs that keep people alive, and assist them from freezing to death out in the cold.

At this point, there are no White Knights in shining armor on either side of the political aisle coming to the rescue in an effort to stop sequestration or to save the safety-net. No super hero is available or on the way to head off around $110 billion in spending cuts scheduled to occur on March 1 that will devastate the nation's housing programs, food programs, safety programs, health care, anti-poverty programs, and other precious humane programs meant to serve the needy public at large, including the disabled, poor and the elderly.

At this point the leading politicians from both major political parties known as the peoples representatives, have sold out to the greedy interests of Wall Street, and have double-crossed the majority of the population at large that are now being placed at risk of further job losses, hunger, disease, famine, homelessness and untimely death, all in the name of sequestration.

It appears that nothing short of an angry citizenry all across the nation will be able to convince the mean spirited double-crossing politicians that have created the mess known as sequestration, to undo the catastrophe that they have created in the name of protecting the wealthy and Wall Street interests from paying their fair share of taxes.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com