RESULTS Strongly Supports President Obama’s Call for a Balanced Approach to Budgeting
Allison Burket, Emerson National Hunger Fellow
April 05, 2012
In a speech to the Associated Press on Tuesday, April 2, President Obama demanded an approach to deficit-reduction that, unlike the House Republican Budget passed on March 29, does not balance the budget exclusively on the backs of middle and income families.
As we’ve discussed in our recent weekly updates, the House Republican Budget would have a devastating impact on government programs across the board, including over $133 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years and cuts to Medicaid that would leave 17 million people without health coverage. All in all, 62 percent of the cuts in the proposed budget would hit low-income individuals and families – all while expanding tax cuts for the wealthy and increasing military spending.
RESULTS volunteers have raised their voices on this issue, writing letters to the editor and calling Members of Congress to oppose this plan. Critical safety-net programs help keep millions of Americans out of poverty, particularly children and are an essential building block for a strong economy and a brighter future for America.
We are pleased that President Obama agrees. In his speech, he reminded Americans why so many of the programs under attack in the House Republican Budget – from transportation infrastructure to Head Start to the Earned Income Tax Credit – have had bipartisan support over the years: “What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood is that these investments ... are expressions of the fact that we are one nation. These investments benefit us all. They contribute to genuine, durable economic growth.”
President Obama also highlighted why it is time to let the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest expire: “At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003. We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth. They did not. ” (For a graph on the contribution of the Bush-era tax cuts to our nation’s debt, click here)
In fact, recent studies show that America’s top earners are still benefiting the most. Of additional income created in the U.S. in 2010, a staggering 93 percent went to the top one percent of taxpayers. Based on this data, the New York Times reports that the bottom 99 percent received an average increase of $80 per person, compared to an increase of over $110,000 for the average taxpayer in the top one percent. Historically, this has not been the pattern. According to Washington Post Columnist Harold Myerson, economic recoveries haven’t always disproportionately benefited the rich, and the government has a part to plan in ensuring that the benefits of an economic recovery are felt by all.
Read a summary of the President’s speech here; video and transcript are available online. Learn more about RESULTS’ take on the budget in our April 3 U.S. Poverty Weekly Update.