Monday, August 07, 2006

What You Do to The Least of These...

Those Republican tax cuts have been paid for with deficits or borrowings to date. The Senate wants to extend them, per President Bush's request. The group that will suffer from these are those currently helped by domestic programs. It is estimated in 2012 the following cuts would be imposed under the Senate's current thinking.

The entitlement cuts are especially noteworthy. If all entitlement programs except Social Security were reduced by the same percentage, which is how the bill’s automatic cuts would work, then cuts of the following magnitude would be instituted in 2012:

Medicare would be cut $83 billion, which works out to an average of $1,750 per beneficiary[3]

Veterans injured in combat would have their disability compensation benefits reduced an average of $1,543, while families of veterans who died serving the country would be subject to average benefit cuts of $2,293

The funds that schools receive for the school lunch program would be reduced substantially, with schools having to increase the prices charged to middle-income children for their school lunches by about 66 cents a lunch

A full-time minimum-wage worker with two children would face a cut in the Earned Income Tax Credit of $798

Working-poor families with two children who receive food stamps would have their food stamp benefits cut an average of $670 a year, even though food stamps currently average only $1.06 per person per meal

Poor people who are elderly or have serious disabilities would see both their food stamps and their Supplemental Security Income benefits cut, with many facing SSI benefit cuts of more than $1,000 a year. Under current law, a poor elderly widow is expected to receive a total of $6,560 from SSI benefits and food stamps in 2012. Under the bill, she would find this already-low level of income reduced by about $930 — to $5,630 — and her income would fall from 60 percent of the poverty line to 51 percent.

Uunder the Administration’s budget, the acclaimed women, infants, and children nutrition program (WIC) would be cut $459 million in 2009 (relative to the 2006 funding level, adjusted for inflation) and would serve up to 680,000 fewer low-income pregnant women, infants, and children under age five.[2] Similarly, 420,000 low-income elderly people would be cut from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which would be terminated.

In addition, in 2009, funding for the National Institutes of Health, the federal focal point for medical research, would be cut $2.5 billion, while the community oriented policing services program (COPS), which helps state and local governments put police on the street, would be cut 75 percent. Similarly, EPA’s clean water and drinking water programs would be cut nearly one fifth in 2009, and funding for energy conservation would be cut 23 percent. (All reductions in discretionary programs described here are measured relative to the Congressional Budget Office baseline, which equals the 2006 funding levels for these programs, adjusted for inflation.)

As you do for the least of these, you do for me....

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