Letter, Daily Local News, 11/8/17 (like most letters, not online at DLN site)
In today’s world, there is so much going on, it’s an understatement to say it’s hard to keep track of everything. We focus on our family, jobs, friends and if there is time, current events. With the new Administration’s tweets and daily fire drills, few people have the time and energy to learn how Congress’ proposed budget and tax cuts will affect their lives. That might explain President Trump’s distracting behavior.
At our peril, here is what we are missing. The Republican Congress introduced a budget that over the next decade, will slash $2.9 trillion from programs helping students, the elderly, the disabled, and moderate and low income families. That is a 33% reduction in funding for programs many living in the 6th Congressional District use.
One proposed cut would eliminate health insurance for people who don’t get it through work. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 23 million Americans will lose coverage. Over 26,000 in the 6th district currently get their insurance through the ACA. The Presidents of the American Hospital Association say, “Losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained and will adversely impact patients’ access to care, decimate hospitals’ and health systems’ ability to provide services, weaken local economies that hospitals help sustain and grow, and result in massive job losses.”
Cutting $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and Medicare will create challenges for all of us. In the 6th district, 46,000 residents are enrolled in Medicaid. Premiums and co-pays will increase. Nursing homes, who care for many people in their last days of life, may be forced to cut services or close.
The budget proposes to cut almost $90 billion from college Pell Grants and $120 billion from subsidized student loans. Almost 18,000 families in our district send their children to college using these. Cutting Federal grants and loans will make it harder for all but the wealthiest to
attend college. Some colleges will be forced to raise tuition or close. Even state and community colleges will be effected .
The proposed cuts to SNAP, also known as food stamps, will hurt low income families and senior citizens. Nearly 23,000 6th district households use this assistance. The National Council on Aging says, 10.2 million older Americans, 15.8% of seniors, face the threat of hunger. Supermarkets and farmers will also be hurt as there will be fewer consumers who can afford quality food. The proposed budget will even cut school lunch programs.
The reason for the budget cuts, we are told, is to cut taxes on big businesses and the wealthy. The supporters of these tax cuts say it will grow the economy and bring in more tax revenues.
The question we all should be asking is: if the people supporting the budget really believe lower taxes would bring in more money, why are they planning to take from students, the middle class, the sick, the elderly and the poor?
The proposed budget and tax plan is disingenuous, so bad that even many Republicans in Congress, like PA Congressman Fitzpatrick, have voted against it. Unfortunately, Congressman Costello is supporting the Trump plan to redistribute wealth away from those struggling the most.
If we want to help our children, our parents, our community and ourselves, we must focus as much on what Congress is doing as what the President is saying. To get involved with our efforts, contact us via facebook at PA Save Our Safety Net Campaign.
Beth Sweet, Volunteer, PA Save our Safety Net Campaign