11
Feb
2005

Bush's Budget: The War on Working People Continues

On Monday, George W. Bush launched an unprecedented attack on poor and working people in the U.S. His proposed a $2.57-trillion budget will cut domestic programs to seniors, veterans, children, and the poor by $20 billion dollars next year.

This budget proposal is an outright declaration of war on working people. It is part of a neoconservative effort to attack the welfare of working people and force working people in this country to accept third world working conditions – no health care, no pensions, no rights. These cuts are not necessary. They the intended result of tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending for a needless war. They are part of a neocon plan to “starve the beast”, to create artificial crises in order to justify slashing spending for the welfare of the people, while at the same time increasing spending for the welfare of the rich.

The Pentagon budget will be increased to $419 billion, plus an additional $80 billion for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan--nearly half a trillion dollars. The U.S. will spend about as much money on its military as the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon budget will be larger than the rest of the planet's combined.

Bush also wants to make his tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, which carry a price tag of $1.1 trillion through 2014.

To pay for the military buildup and tax cuts, Bush's budget includes $20 billion in cuts to over 150 programs, many of them targeted toward low-income people. Bush also calls for terminating 65 federal programs.

There are many more attacks in this budget than can be raised in a single statement or email. These cuts come at a time when poverty in the U.S. has risen by 14 percent--one in eight now live in poverty, one in five children. The number of people in the U.S. without health insurance -- more than 45 million and rising -- has reached a record. Affordable housing is beyond the reach of more and more working people.

These cuts include:

Food stamps will be cut by over $1 billion over the next five years.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs budget will be cut by $100 million.

About one-third of the programs being targeted for elimination are in the Education Department, including federal grant programs for local schools in such areas as vocational education, supporting drug-free schools and Even Start, a $225 million literacy program.

The proposed budget eliminates 7 programs providing $16 billion in grants for low-income urban areas and replaces them with one program funded at $3.7 Billion. The new program, which replaces programs in HUD, Education and other areas is to be run by the Commerce Department. Why Commerce? The stated purpose is to direct these grants away from public organizations and toward faith-based (religious) organizations and private businesses.

Medicaid - medical care for the poor, the disabled, the elderly and children - will be cut by $45 billion.

As home heating costs are on the rise, Bush's budget cuts the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LI-HEAP) by $200 million- making it harder for working families to pay their heating bills.

The budget increases the cost of prescription drugs for veterans more than 100%, charges veterans $250 per year for promised health care, and will close VA hospitals throughout the country while veterans still wait months just to see a doctor.

The proposed budget is especially brutal in attacking immigrants. It eliminates the Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers program while claiming that “workers can be better served through the Nation’s system of One-Stop Career Centers”, although that program is being cut from $963 million to $84 million itself. It provides a $68 million increase for a program that seizes children whose parents have been deported and turns them over to right-wing religious groups.

The budget eliminates funding for The Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) Program, which funds housing for rural families.

Bush’s budget eliminates the Perkins Loan, a federally subsidized loan program for college students.

In addition to cuts in crucial programs, the proposal includes efforts to increase red tape and make it harder for workers to collect unemployment insurance. It similarly makes it harder for states to administer Medicaid and SCHIP benefits effectively by curtailing the ways in which they can use federal money to administer those programs. And the budget is riddled with religious initiatives, such as “Abstinence Only Education” and “Healthy Marriage” programs. The list goes on and on.

Bush's budget demands that the poorest and most oppressed pay for the costs of his tax breaks to the wealthy and for his program of endless war.

March 19: Working People Fight Back

Anyone who has looked at the Bush budget recognizes that this is a declaration of a new phase of the war against working people here. We must fight back.

March 19 will be a day of protest around the world. In New York City the day begins with a march from Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park to the main rally site at the East Meadow in Central Park.

Momentum for March 19 is growing. New endorsers and organizing centers are coming forward every day. (An updated list of endorsers and organizing centers is available at //www.TroopsOutNow.org ) Buses, vans, and car caravans are coming from Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, and many other cities.

In the face of this new phase of the war against working people and the continued occupation of Iraq, it is imperative that antiwar, progressive, labor and community organizations join in a united demonstration of opposition to the Bush agenda of war, repression, and corporate greed.

This budget is another offensive strike in Bush’s continuing war against working people. All activists and organizations that struggle for justice and peace have an obligation to respond. Bush and Wall Street are united and determined in their attacks on workers; we must answer them with a greater unity and determination.

Help Build a Movement to Fight Back

1) Endorse the March 19 Demonstration in Central Park //troopsoutnow.org
2) Organize transportation from your area //troopsoutnow.org
3) Help get the word out -- Download leaflets from //troopsoutnow.org
4) Forward this email to your lists

March 19
Troops Out Now!
March on Central Park in NYC!
Regional Demonstrations Across the U.S. & Worldwide


The International Action Center
//www.iacenter.org
iacenter@iacenter.org


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