In which I offer you a couple of insights from wise people about what’s going on with the U.S. Congress and the federal budget, and share some ideas about what to do.
Quote #1, from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Speak up for the poor both in this country and abroad. The budget cuts made by the House will have devastating impacts on those most in need of help. Help make the U.S. a country of compassion, not of savage selfishness. Urge the Senate to preserve the funding allocations that can help the poor.
Quote #2, from economist, Nobel Prize recipient, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman:
There are three things you need to know about the current budget debate. First, it’s essentially fraudulent. Second, most people posing as deficit hawks are faking it. Third, while President Obama hasn’t fully avoided the fraudulence, he’s less bad than his opponents — and he deserves much more credit for fiscal responsibility than he’s getting.
…by proposing sharp spending cuts right away, Republicans aren’t just going where the money isn’t, they’re also going when the money isn’t. Slashing spending while the economy is still deeply depressed is a recipe for slower economic growth, which means lower tax receipts — so any deficit reduction from G.O.P. cuts would be at least partly offset by lower revenue.
The whole budget debate, then, is a sham. House Republicans, in particular, are literally stealing food from the mouths of babes — nutritional aid to pregnant women and very young children is one of the items on their cutting block — so they can pose, falsely, as deficit hawks….
The bottom line, then, is that while the budget is all over the news, we’re not having a real debate; it’s all sound, fury, and posturing, telling us a lot about the cynicism of politicians but signifying nothing in terms of actual deficit reduction. And we shouldn’t indulge those politicians by pretending otherwise.
What to Do
“When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”
Be inspired by the massive display of peaceful people power in Wisconsin. Make your voice be heard and be visible.
1) Sign this petition:
2) Educate yourself and others on what’s really going on
Many Republicans in Congress are using this budget debate to their political benefit, as Krugman notes, and throwing up a smoke screen that obscures what else is going on.
For example, did you know that nearly two-thirds of U.S. corporations don’t pay any income taxes, instead using tax loopholes and offshore tax havens? This while many corporations enjoy record profits and taxpayer-funded bailouts.
If as much effort was made to increase revenue through collecting some of these corporate taxes as is being spent on cutting from those most in need, we’d be closer to a balanced budget.
Another great source of information is the National Priorities Project. Want to find out how your taxes are being spent? Try out this tool where you plug in the amount of taxes you paid and then can see what percentage goes toward things like military, health care, foreign aid, etc. Do these allocations align with your priorities and values?
3) Organize, organize, organize! February 26 Day of Action
The House of Representatives has voted on the budget. Congress is currently on a break; when the U.S. Senate re-convenes on February 28 it will discuss and vote on the budget. From now until then, it’s time to organize.
US Uncut is a new movement (inspired by UK Uncut) that is about taking action against unnecessary and unfair cuts to public services across the US. US Uncut is organizing an International Day of Action on Feb 26.
If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to visit my other website: The Liberated Life Project — a personal transformation blog with a social conscience.