Republican tax breaks lead to cuts in major social programs

One could be forgiven for imagining that the Republicans are devoted to working-class Americans. After all, Bush has often talked about his belief in an “ownership society,” where all Americans would have the chance to enjoy the American dream.

Strangely, however, for the past couple of weeks, Republicans have mounted a concerted effort to attack government programs that help Americans do just that.

Let’s begin by looking at Republican activities in Congress. Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to pass a bill to extend tax cuts, which would cost about $70 billion.

This might seem like an odd thing to do, given that the nation has an unprecedented deficit. But the Republicans in the House had an answer for that.

Rather than reducing tax cuts, they chose to cut $50 billion from programs they viewed as unnecessary, like Medicaid, food stamps and student loans.

Now, I think we would all agree that the fact that the nation is in debt is a bad thing. I applaud the fact that the Republicans are trying to do something about it, even though it’s a pity they didn’t avoid putting the nation in debt to begin with.

But this is simply foolish. Republicans claim that tax cuts are crucial because they help the economy.

But what’s going to help the economy more in the long run, $14 billion in tax cuts, or $14 billion to help ensure America has a college-educated workforce?

The Republicans in the House also voted to cut billions of dollars from food stamps, even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that 38 million Americans would go hungry at some point in 2004, two million more than in 2003.

At a time when programs like Medicaid and food stamps are needed more than ever, the Republicans have voted to reduce the help available to citizens.

Of course, the Republicans would claim that their tax cuts will help America’s working class, but that’s absurd.

Republican Congressmen also rammed through an act extending tax cuts for capital gains.

How many working class Americans would benefit from tax breaks on returns from the stock market to the extent that it would truly improve their quality of life?

If Republicans were truly concerned about helping out working-class Americans, they would have joined Democrats in supporting a bill to raise taxes on oil companies, who have enjoyed record profits this year. Democrats in the Senate attempted to pass a temporary windfall tax on oil companies, and planned on using the money to give a tax break to Americans, who are plagued this year by high gas and heating prices.

Yet Republicans refused to support such a bill. Evidently tax breaks are only acceptable if they help the wealthy.

There is something very wrong when a government cuts desperately needed social programs that ensure the welfare of its citizens while simultaneously cutting taxes.

It should be clear to anyone with any sort of a conscience that ensuring that children don’t go hungry should take priority over removing a capital gains tax, yet the Republican party has clearly demonstrated its priorities. Once again, a few rich people will benefit at the expense of thousands of hardworking Americans.

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