Thursday, August 4, 2011

The High Cost of the Debt Ceiling Deal

This week Congress reached a deal to extend the national debt ceiling to avoid a government default. the debate on the debt ceiling played out until the last hours before a decision had to be made. Because some hard-line legislators were willing to allow an economic catastrophe rather than increase revenues by taxing the wealthiest in the country, the end compromise included drastic cuts to crucial social safety nets for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Where are the Cuts?

The current legislation calls for over $900 billion in cuts over the next ten years and $1.5 trillion in budget reductions that will be determined by a new joint committee of Congress. If Congress fails to adopt the joint committee's recommendations then automatic cuts will take effect starting 2013. Fifty percent of the cuts will come from each defense and non-defense spending. Judging by the drawn-out political power struggle for the initial deal, we should expect series of difficult battles to protect the neediest members of our society.

The National Women's Law Center stated this week, "The debt ceiling deal averts the disaster of default but at a painful and unfair price. The deal would cut domestic discretionary programs--programs such as Head Start, K-12 education, Title X family planning, job training, domestic violence prevention, meals-on-wheels, and other services for vulnerable people...but not touch a penny of the tax breaks enjoyed by millionaires and corporations."

What's Next?

The attacks on our families, friends, and communities are deeply disturbing. Nowhere in this discussion are plans for rebuilding the economy and creating jobs. The fight for programs that support low and moderate income workers and their families, as well as the huge number of unemployed, is not over.

As the budget debate continues, 9to5 will increase our efforts to speak up in support of rebuilding the economy, creating quality jobs, and ensuring a safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors.

For more details and a thoughtful analysis of the Debt Ceiling Debate:

National Women's Law Center

Coalition On Human Needs

Food Research and Action Center

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