The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Opposing Viewpoints: Proposed Cuts to Social Programs Not Justified

2 min read

Today, political rhetoric in Washington automatically equates budget cuts with cutting social programs that serve the public’s interest. Politicians mismanage taxpayer money, and then the taxpayers feel the immediate ramifications of this mismanagement. The Democratic budget proposal finds itself cutting spending where it can, but not at the price of the public’s welfare.

The partisan entanglement our government finds itself in is clear in this year’s budget battle. The Republican plan, backed by Tea Party members, cuts approximately $61 billion from the 2010 budget. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid stated this budget is “is based in ideology; ours is based in reality. These are decisions about real money that solve real problems that affect real lives.”

The future of our nation and its survival in a global economy are contingent upon the education our youth receives. In the Republican bill, education programs, including programs for low-income students and special education programs, will be cut dramatically while the Obama’s proposed budget “promotes innovation and supports programs that serve low-income students. His budget calls for increased investment in education in order to lay the necessary foundation for future economic growth” according to Diana Epstein, Education Policy Analyst at American Progress.

The Republican plan cuts nearly $5 billion dollars from education in an attempt to dramatically decrease domestic discretionary spending. In addition, $693 million would be taken away from Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which funds schools that cater to low-income residents.

The bill would also cut special education funding by $556 million, where the White House’s proposal would increase this spending by $200 million. Even funds provided by the stimulus bill would be cut, like Obama’s Race to the Top program, which promoted reform and innovation in our failing educational system. If the federal government needs to save money, is it right to take it from those who are not eligible to vote?

The Democrats have created a plan that counters the GOP’s unjustified budget cuts. The Democratic plan restores all major cuts in education, including some additional funding. According to the Charlotte Observer, the bill “provides a modest increase to the Department of Homeland Security – rather than the 2 percent cut proposed by Republicans. And it restores or softens cuts to housing subsidies and community development grants.”

It is a bipartisan idea that the budget must be cut, but the people will not pay the price Republicans are asking for. Why cut PBS and other educational funds when tax breaks for oil companies and for those with annual incomes over $250,000 exist? Money seemingly now represents a political voice, as the poor are completely cut off from any representation.

Perhaps House Republican should pass their budget, and perhaps Sarah Palin should win the 2012 presidential election. Maybe then will people be pulled out of their complacency and realize the magnitude of our government’s shortcomings.