1. The Republican majority in congress is cutting back vital programs for women, children and working families.
These include Medicaid, food stamps, home heating assistance, child support enforcement, student loans, foster care, and supplemental security income for disabled people. This is insane public policy when we are dealing with the hurricane crises and rebuilding and when so many families in this country still need assistance to have basic needs met.
They are using the excuse of the deficit but this is what David Stockman, Reagan’s first budget director called a strategic deficit – it is created for the purpose of forcing cuts that they wanted to make anyway and this is a deficit they themselves created through their huge tax cuts and increases in military spending.
2. Over 50 cents of your income tax dollar goes to the military and homeland security but most of that money does not benefit anyone except military and security corporations.
In addition, trillions are unaccounted for. In fact, the
3. Tax cuts for the wealthy have greatly increased under the Bush administration and some large corporations are getting refunds from the government.
Investing in American children and families grows the economy and is a good use of our common resources; putting more money in the pockets of the rich and corporations is not.
4. Despite the progress women have made in the labor market, there is still gender discrimination in the U.S economy, and therefore the social safety net in the budget is crucial for most women.
Women are still concentrated in lower paying jobs and these jobs tend to have few benefits. Women still earn only 75 cents on the dollar men earn, resulting in a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout a woman’s lifetime. This pay discrimination is one of the reasons women tend to have fewer assets than men and fewer pension resources, and disproportionately affects women of color. Women also provide most of the unpaid caregiving of children and elderly parents in our society, also affecting participation in the labor force and lifetime earnings.
5. We are not at the table making the decisions about dividing national resources to the extent that we deserve to be in a democracy.
We rank 59th in the world in representation of women in our national legislature. Women are 51 percent of the population but only 13 percent of congress. The racial make-up of congress is also striking: the population is 31 percent people of color while the congress is 14 percent people of color. Picture to yourself who is at the table: mostly white men and especially in the case of the senate, mostly very wealthy white men – the senate has been dubbed the millionaires club - at least 40 out of the 100 senators are millionaires or multi millionaires.
Each person’s vision and actions really do make a difference. The House and Senate have finished their work on the spending cuts and tax breaks, and are now in conference committee to decide the final budget. Please keep the pressure on your members of Congress, and let them know you want them to vote against these budget priorities that fall so hard on women and families. Go to OMB Watch http://tinyurl.com/9h e8t, where you can get all the details and send an email directly to your congress people.