On the Backs of the Poor

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a statement about the cuts that fiscal conservatives in the Republican Study Committee have proposed in order to pay for Katrina reconstruction:

In particular, these proposals would place much of the burden of Katrina relief and deficit reduction on the backs of our nation’s poor, seniors, and people with disabilities, as well as on poor people in other countries through cuts in U.S. programs designed to combat global poverty and AIDS.

Indeed, the GOP plans to save a lot of money by slashing Medicaid, at a time when the program is more important than ever for providing health insurance to those who lose their coverage at work. Oh, and they’d like to slash foreign aid. Naturally, they title the report “tough choices in tough times.” Democrats and liberals, meanwhile, haven’t provided much in the way of alternatives, as far as I can tell (besides Nancy Pelosi’s noble-but-insignificant offer to sacrifice San Francisco pork). Perhaps they all think that James K. Galbraith has it right and deficits don’t really matter. Really, though, it’s easy to close the deficit—or at the very least, paying for Katrina—by rolling back Bush’s tax cuts and going after waste and fraud in the Pentagon, or useless military programs. A GAO report out today “found many inaccuracies [in Defense Department spending] totaling billions of dollars.” That seems far more worthwhile than gutting health care for low-income families. Defense spending, however, makes up the smallest of the cuts proposed by the Study Committee.

UPDATE: The Center for American Progress has its own proposal for trimming the budget. Not all of this is realistic, of course, just as the Republican proposal isn’t politically realistic. But in the abstract, it’s far more sensible.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend