Letters and Opinion

Republican budget hits hard

April 21, 2012

For the past few years, Republicans in Congress have argued that our federal government needs to budget more like families across America. This is exactly right, but the Republican budget passed in late March fails to pass this test.

The Republican budget pursues short-term deficit reduction at the expense of accessible health care, affordable higher education, and thousands of other long-term investments middle-class Americans rely on every day.

At dinner tables across the country, health care is a top priority, especially when it comes to our seniors. However, by turning Medicare into a voucher program, Republicans effectively end the Medicare guarantee and ensure thousands of dollars in cost increases for seniors living on fixed incomes.

Parents understand that a college degree is essential to their children finding the employment needed to support a family and contribute to society. Yet, Republicans claim they are standing up for families by eliminating $104 billion from Pell Grants, which help millions of young people afford an otherwise unattainable college education.

Families across America are also used to paying their fair share and budgeting to contribute to their communities and cover their taxes. Again, the Republican budget takes an opposite approach, providing over $4.6 trillion in tax cuts to the top 1 percent of Americans, ensuring each millionaire receives an average break of $394,000. Meanwhile, they cut almost $1 trillion used to provide access to health care and food for families in need.

Proponents of tax cuts for the super-wealthy argue that they contribute more to our economy by creating jobs, but these tax breaks are given without any commitment to new hiring or investment in businesses committed to keeping jobs in America. Economists have shown that affording our neighbors a support ladder into the middle class does far more to grow our economy than enriching a few millionaires.

I chose to vote for the Democratic alternative. Our bill sided with American families by preserving the Medicare guarantee, investing in a strong economy and job creation, reducing the deficit in a balanced way, and moving us toward economic recovery. This budget did not pass, but it shows why the Republican “cuts-only approach” is far out of line with the priorities of middle-class Americans.

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Andre Carson
U.S. Representative, 7th District

 

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