FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Balancing the Budget by Starving the Students

Republicans have begun describing how the United States of America at the state and national level can become a better place by spending a lot less money and not raising taxes. Congress took the first step at the end of 2010 when it dealt with the tax law. It decided to extend income tax rates in effect in 2010 for another 24 months, a benefit for rich and poor alike, although in absolute dollars the rich benefitted somewhat more than the poor. Those earning $10 million who file joint returns will pay approximately $368,794 less than if the existing law had not been extended and those earning $1 million will save approximately $29,962. Those earning $60,000 will pay $1118.40 less and those earning $20,000 save $51.60. An incidental benefit of the legislation went to the unemployed who were given an additional thirteen months of unemployment benefits. Lower taxes for the rich were extended beyond the time benefits were paid the unemployed because the rich became rich because of hard work and many members of Congress must think if the unemployed worked as hard at seeking employment as the rich did at becoming rich they’d be employed within 13 months. Other ways money is saved are becoming apparent at the state and national level.

Colorado, a state with a large budget shortfall, has given low-income students the opportunity to participate in helping the state ameliorate its financial crisis by foregoing free breakfasts. As a result these students will, (unless the entire legislature overrules the actions of its Joint Budget Committee), forego free breakfast and begin paying $.30 each day for it, thus participating in a meaningful way in helping the state out of its financial bind. The Joint Budget Committee acted even though there was $253,547 available from previous years when the program, known as the Smart Nutrition Program, came in under budget. One of the Republican lawmakers objected to the fact that Democrats were saying Republicans didn’t care about children. She said: “We care about the children. It’s not a moral issue, it’s an accounting issue.” That explanation will help relieve hunger pangs felt by the young who are no longer getting free breakfasts.

The Colorado decision was made during the same week that Sargent Shriver died. It was a bit ironic. Among Mr. Shriver’s many accomplishments was the creation of the Headstart Programs. As Bob Herbert observed in a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times commenting on Mr. Shriver’s many accomplishments: “In 1964, as leader of the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Johnson administration, Mr. Shriver came across studies that showed connections between poor nutrition, lower I.Q. scores and arrested social and emotional development. He wondered whether early childhood intervention ‘could have a beneficial effect on the children of poor people.’ Head Start followed in incredibly short order.” The Colorado Joint Budget Committee’s action was not the only irony in the week that Sargent Shriver died. The report of house conservatives in the U.S. Congress was another.

The Republican Study Committee wants to bring domestic agency budgets down to 2006 levels which is about a $175 billion cut from current levels. The White House said that if cuts of that magnitude were imposed by Congress, 400,000 children would be forced from Head Start programs. One of Headstart’s concerns is for nutrition for young children. Children in a part-day center based setting must receive meals and snacks that provide at least 1/3 of their daily nutritional needs and those in full-day programs must receive ½ to 2/3 of their daily nutritional needs, depending on the length of the program. Children in morning based centers who arrive not having eaten breakfast must be given a nourishing breakfast. That is only a brief description of the requirements pertaining to nutritional services that Head Start programs must address. If the Committee’s recommendations are adopted, 400,000 small children will participate in democracy in just the same way that Colorado children are participating.

It is not only young children who are given the opportunity to participate in democracy in action. Post secondary education students are given a similar opportunity. The committee’s recommendation would reduce Pell Grants for low-income college students by an average of $1,000.

A suggestion that Pell Grants be reduced comes at a time when tuition for students throughout the country is rising. According to a report in the New York Times, tuition at the University of South Carolina has doubled in the last ten years. California has raised tuition by 30 percent in the last two years. Texas legislators have proposed eliminating financial aid for freshmen. The net effect of those changes will be to deprive many of the less fortunate students the opportunity to get an education.

It is a strange Congress and legislature that protects a country’s future by taking money from programs that nourish undernourished children and makes it more difficult for its older children to receive an education.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be e-mailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

 

 

More articles by:

March 25, 2019
Jonathan Cook
Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry
Dave Lindorff
The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
Tanya Golash-Boza – Michael Golash
Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
Robert Fisk
Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
Jack Rasmus
The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s Moves to the Right
John Feffer
After Trump
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9/11
Dean Baker
The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
Lawrence Wittner
What Democratic Socialism Is and Is Not
Thomas Knapp
Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
Stephen Cooper
“I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail