Friday, April 1, 2011

Republican plan to INCREASE the deficit and harm Americans

Only Republicans would take this approach to deficit reduction.  As usually, what they call one thing is actually just the opposite.  In this case, their proposals for deficit reduction are actually proposals that have nothing to do with the deficit and, in many cases, would not only amount to deficit INCREASES but would HARM Americans.  That’s the finding of a new study by the Center for American Progress.  They looked at the Republican budget proposal and found at least ten policy proposals that have absolutely nothing to do with reducing the deficit and often do just the opposite.  Here they are:

The Republicans want to defund health care reform.   That would INCREASE the deficit by $5.7 billion over the next ten years.  If the entire reform legislation were repealed, the deficit would go UP $210 billion.  It would also leave millions of Americans uninsured.

Republicans want to cut funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), in other words, free commodity speculators to once again get in trouble and bring about a new costly recession.  Commodity speculators are already driving up gas prices and by at least one estimate, removing or limiting the ability of the CFTC to regulate energy market price manipulation will be “the fastest way to $6 per gallon [gas].”

Republicans want to block funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants and refineries and mercury and other pollutants from cement plants.  The American Lung Association the Republican proposal would “result in millions of Americans—including children, seniors, and people with chronic disease such as asthma—being forced to breathe air that is unhealthy” and cause “asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and shorten lives.”  That translates in to enormous personal hardships and loss, not to mention skyrocketing medical cost to treat illnesses we could prevent or significantly reduce with just a little sensible regulation. 

The Republicans want to prohibit the Department of Education from using federal funds to implement its proposed "gainful employment" rule, which seeks to ensure students who attend career education programs receive an education that prepares them for gainful employment. The department’s proposed regulation would require career preparation programs at community colleges and for-profit institutions to show that at least 35 percent of students repay their student loans and that graduates have debt-to-income ratios of less than 12 percent.  The Republican proposal has nothing to do with deficit reduction but has everything to do with continuing to allow private colleges and university to cheat their students and rob from the federal government that gets stuck with covering the costs of unpaid student loans.

The Republicans want to block the creation of a “consumer products complaints database” mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This legislation was enacted into law after a spate of recalls of China-made products, from lead-tainted toys and toothpaste to contaminated dog food and pharmaceuticals.  Again, the Republican proposal isn’t about deficit reduction.  It’s about protecting big companies and importers and ironically the Chinese, who want to make huge profits from fostering unsafe toys, drugs and other products on unsuspecting American consumers.

Republicans want to ban federal funding of Planned Parenthood AND eliminate the Title X domestic family planning program which provides family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to more than 5 million Americans annually, most of whom are low-income women. The United States spends only $75 million on Planned Parenthood and $327 million annually on Title X programs.  It is estimated that the government actually saved $3.4 billion in 2008 by providing vital family planning services to individuals who would otherwise not have access to them.  Again, the Republican proposal has nothing to do with deficit reduction but a lot to do with promoting anti-abortion, anti-contraception, and other anti-woman efforts that Republicans and social conservatives support in the guise of deficit reduction.

As the Center for American Progress says, “Conservatives repeatedly claim that massive cuts to services for children, for the poor, and especially for the middle class are all about the budget deficit. They contend that deficits make these cuts necessary despite the fact that they will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and slower economic growth, and they are likely to endanger the safety and security of all Americans.”

So true.  We need to tell the Republicans NO.  Enough is enough.  If they want to seriously discuss long-term deficit reduction, we are all for it.  But, we will not stand by and allow to use the deficit as a way to advance their anti-American policy agenda.

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