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Budget Cuts and Bad Faith

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The moral test of any society is how it treats its poorest and most vulnerable citizens. And that is exactly what the Bible says, over and over again.

Jim Wallis, Sojourners

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House Republicans announced a plan yesterday (Feb 9) to cut $43 billion in domestic spending and international aid, while increasing spending for military and defense by another $8 billion. This proposal comes just months after billions of dollars were added to the deficit with an extension of tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. House Republicans focused in on only 12 percent of federal spending, and targeted things like education, the environment, food safety, law enforcement, infrastructure, and transportation -- programs that benefit or protect most Americans. They also proposed cutting funding for programs that benefit the most vulnerable members of our society, such as nutrition programs for our poorest women and children. We don't yet know all the cuts Republicans are targeting in their proposals, but it's good to finally know what their priorities are.

Under the proposed budget cuts, deficit reduction will not come from the super-rich; it will come from the rest of us. And the poorer you are, the more vulnerable you become, and the more you will pay for the burdens of deficit reduction. For example, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that helps provide food to hungry mothers and their children faces a $758 million cut. Also, the proposed budget cuts $544 million in international food aid grants for organizations such as World Vision. AmeriCorps, a program that provides public service opportunities for our young adults, would be eliminated entirely. But our military and defense budget, which sends our young adults off to kill and be killed, would receive an $8 billion increase.

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