Fair Budget Priorities
March 2, 2011
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that Congress must not balance the budget by cutting programs for working families after giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. “At a time when the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than it has been in decades, it would be wrong to balance the budget on the backs of people already suffering from the recession who are receiving Social Security, enrolled in Head Start or depend on home heating assistance,” Sanders said.
Over Sanders’ objections, Congress late last year extended tax breaks for the top 2 percent of Americans who now pay the lowest tax rates in decades. “It is time to ask the wealthy to start paying their fair share,” Sanders said.
House Republicans last month rammed through a bill that would cut this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. That bill would:
- Cut $1.1 billion from Head Start depriving services for 218,000 children.
- Cut $1.3 billion for Social Security delaying benefits for 500,000 Americans.
- Slash $1.3 billion from community health centers taking primary health care from 11 million patients.
- Reduce or eliminate Pell Grants for 9.4 million low-income college students.
- Cut $405 million from Community Services Block Grants affecting 20 million seniors, families with children and the disabled.
- End job training and other employment services for 8 million Americans.
A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders also noted that today’s $14 trillion national debt was driven up by tax breaks for the wealthy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Wall Street bailout and a prescription drug program drafted by pharmaceutical companies.