In his Budget Cuts and Bad Faith blog post, Jim Wallis publishes some numbers that make me angry. I don't for one minute think Jim intends to snow us with those numbers, as many writers to. Nevertheless, I personally tend to fall prey to this popular technique of persuasion.
It's been written that you can use statistics to prove anything. That's probably an exaggeration, but numbers, factual or not, can be used to persuade us. Do we, as critical thinkers, verfiy the reality of those numbers, or simply follow our emotions? If the latter, we've been effectively pursuaded.
-- Mike Steigerwald
House Republicans announced a plan yesterday 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.