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Cut for the poor
The word of the month in Washington is “sequestration,” or the automatic $85 billion in spending cuts slated to take effect on March 1 unless Congress reaches a deal. What will those cuts mean in real life for the poor, unemployed, sick and children? The economic group Macroeconomic Advisers predicted that the sequester will slow economic growth by more than half a percentage point and result in the loss of 700,000 jobs.
Critical areas are as follows: 125,000 people will lose Section 8 housing, which is critical housing support for the working poor, 100,000 people who are homeless will not receive the support that they need without a place to go and there won’t be 450,000 AIDS tests. About 500,000 vaccines won’t be manufactured, a million people won’t be able to access community health centers and unemployment insurance for 4 million long-term unemployed will be cut by 10 percent. In terms of education, 70,000 kids won’t have access to Head Start; another 30,000 in terms of child-care assistance.
The reality is that the U.S. government funds its level of activities at the same level of Mexico. The United States has the lowest level of taxation of any developed country in the world. And what that means is that we are underinvesting in infrastructure, we’re underinvesting in education and we’re underinvesting in the key things that fuel economic growth.
Ted Rudow III, MA