Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Economic crisis? Blame the poor (updated)

Because my research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, I take a particular interest in the budget process on Capitol Hill. Currently, there is no Federal Budget. We are operating on a "continuing resolution" that keeps the lights on minimally while Congress argues over cutting the budget. Without knowing its budget, NIH cannot make some grant awards, which means we're all sitting on our hands wondering if we'll have to let our staff go. The original House Resolution 1 would have gutted NIH. (Aside: there is significant bang for the buck in NIH grants, including education, employment not just of scientists but of support staff, and of course new knowledge that leads to better health, treatment and cures. See this PDF from FASEB for more.) As we point out routinely, China, Korea, and Signapore are increasing science funding. Only in America are education and research candidates for decimation.

The US has competing interests in needing to spend to create jobs, and reducing the deficit caused by spending. Alas, the tea partiers elected in the midterm cycle have no interest in jobs. They really have no interest in the deficit, either. What they want to gut are programs they don't like, including health care, education, and assistance for the poor. By attaching "riders" to the bill to de-fund EPA, Planned Parenthood, and NPR, they reveal themselves to be no different than the conservative social warriors of the past. And they relish the idea of shutting down the government.

For many people, this is background noise. Unless you are a political junkie, you may not have followed the sorry tale of how we have limped along this far in the budget year. You will probably notice if the government shuts down. If you are poor or in need or receive any sort of government assistance, you will notice a lot faster.

Disproportionately, the cuts proposed would affect the least amongst us. Why? Well, RumorMill reports that the Tan Man, House Speaker John Boehner, blames the poor.

"Can't pay your student loan? Face it your parents were lazy and you couldn't afford college. The world needs ditch diggers and you were born into a family of them. Can't pay your mortgage? Your house was too expensive and you couldn't afford it. Your taxes going up too much? That's what you get for electing a democrat president.
Did he really say this? We'll know if the quote comes out in Rolling Stone as it is suggested. However, regardless, it's a little disturbing that it's so easy to imagine that he did.

And regardless, we have the actions of the Republicans attacking the poor. Actions speak louder than words, and these are the goals of the House based on HR.1.

From here.Good Christians, every one, I bet.

Perhaps they need to do more reading.

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.' Matthew 25:41-45

If you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention.


Picture by IT, who recently worked the Hill in favor of NIH funding


JCF said...

Um, I'm not sure that Boehner quote is legit. I agree it sounds plausible, but until it's actually published, I'd be careful. [It's the Christwire Effect.]

IT said...

True, dat. Will revise accordingly.

it's margaret said...

IT --it is time for you to post the FB Twitter blobs for your posts... this is worth posting in a bunch of places.

Thank you.

IT said...

Margaret-- I don't tweet. Post away!

Counterlight said...

So outraged these days that I'm exhausted. And yet, I'm much more afraid of Dems and other fellow citizens rolling over like meek little bunnies and letting this all happen, guaranteeing a much poorer, backward, divided, and isolated USA for the future.