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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > GOP’s disconnect with average American Latino, senior citizen, black and low-income creates unbalanced approach to reducing nation’s deficit

GOP’s disconnect with average American Latino, senior citizen, black and low-income creates unbalanced approach to reducing nation’s deficit

LatinaLista — There’s no debate that the United States needs to get our fiscal house in order. The big debate centers on who should be shouldering that responsibility.

Though politicians have lately been saying that this is a shared burden among the American people, it’s clear, from some of the programs that will be cut, that poorer Americans — those who make less than $250,000, don’t play the stock market or routinely shop at high-end luxury retailers — will be hit hardest.

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Yet, one GOP politician after another, has been standing behind network and cable news microphones saying that the American people want more cuts and that the “American people” are saying this budget doesn’t go far enough.

First of all, what people might that be?

It can’t be the communities where their seniors depend on Social Security for their monthly income. Without that monthly deposit, seniors, who are already going hungry in the Latino community, according to AARP, would be far worse off without the means to buy basic medicine and pay their bills.

Many Latino seniors and others who devoted their lives to manual labor for small companies didn’t have the option of 401K or pension plans. To many of them, Social Security was their investment plan.

Cutting Medicaid and Medicare inflicts the same blows on a vulnerable segment of the population that is fast outnumbering the majority. According to a new budget proposal of cuts by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, anyone using Medicare would be steered into the private sector of insurers. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that Ryan’s plan would end up costing seniors more, not less.

Budget cuts have also been proposed in the WIC program.

WIC, a program that uses federal money to subsidize the food and nutrition needs of children from low-income families, would be reduced by more than $500 million.

While people have argued that WIC is just another form of welfare, the fact remains is that it is a much needed program. Infants, toddlers and young children in these cash-strapped families are high-risk for not receiving the kind of nutritious food they need to develop normally.

Hopefully, churches and private groups will help to take up the slack but the need is only getting greater and the long-term consequence of not providing these foods to these children may come back to haunt the economic security of this nation in the future.

Another interesting cut, that doesn’t seem to be in the best long-term interest of the nation, is the cutting of nearly $3 billion for high-speed rail.

It would seem if Congress was really serious about lessening dependence on foreign oil, there would be a greater push for high-speed rail and mass transportation. Among all segments of the population who depend on mass transit, it’s the seniors and low-income. High-speed rail would help with the oil problem, city pollution and help create and replace an aging infrastructure that Congress has no political will to update, until a major catastrophe occurs.

Yet, perhaps the most telling point that GOP politicians are disconnected from the average American who is middle-class or below is their insistence to make permanent the George W. Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year.

Ryan, looking at things from the taxpayer’s perspective rather than the government’s, characterized Obama’s plan to allow the cuts to expire as a “tax increase.” Moreover, the Wall Street Journal points out, Obama’s proposal for “eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the highest earners … will only put a small dent in the projected deficit.”

Nobody likes tax increases but there’s a difference between those who still have significant disposable income after bills are paid and those who simply have no way to stretch their dollars any further and must decide on a month-to-month basis which bills get paid.

Like it or not, this country is comprised of a significant middle and low-income class of people for whom life is made bearable with federal programs that are lifelines to a higher quality of life that higher-income Americans — and GOP politicians — take for granted.

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