The Job Ahead

Joanne Carter, Executive Director
December 20, 2017

As this unjust tax bill becomes law, we’re already seeing it used to justify deep cuts to health care, nutrition, and more for millions of low-income Americans. But this fight isn’t over.

What happened this week was only the first part of the battle. After tax breaks for the wealthy create a deficit on the order of $1.5 trillion, federal anti-poverty programs are likely to be some of the first on the chopping block.

This could show up as direct funding cuts or as changes making it harder for people to qualify for support. It may well come under the veil of “welfare reform,” but it’s not reform at all. It’s slashing funding for programs like SNAP and Medicaid – which provide nutrition to millions and health care to 1 in 5 Americans – to offset tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

But while the threats are real, the outcome is far from guaranteed. That’s where you come in. I believe we can, and we must, win this second part of the fight.

We can start laying the groundwork now to protect these programs. If you’re ready to channel your frustration into action, start with a letter to the editor this week. Use that letter to make clear to Congress that you won’t stand for attacks on anti-poverty programs.

With a setback like the one this week, it’s easy to lose sight of our collective impact and what we have achieved. We forget that earlier this year, we were facing the near-certain end of Medicaid as we know it. Grassroots voices across the country made sure that didn’t happen. We also saw big proposed funding cuts for SNAP (formerly “Food Stamps”). But you helped stop those too.

All this year, you kept going even when it was hard or dispiriting, and even when some of you have been personally targeted. You have been an incredible driver of effective action. And also a driver of hope.

We must remember that hope is not a feeling: it’s a decision that we have to make over and over. Thank you for deciding to be hopeful and for the impact you have.

As we look to next year, we know we have a big job ahead. Together I know we can do it, and we will do it.