Giving a Hand Up to Low-Income Families

You probably won’t see this part of the budget playing anywhere on the Left blogosphere:

….Spur Job Creation and Support Strong Economic Growth. While the economy has added jobs for each of the last 12 months, too many Americans families are still hurting and the unemployment rate is unacceptably high. That is why the Administration is continuing a series of targeted steps to spur job creation and economic growth in the short term in a fiscally responsible way. As 2010 ended, families across the Nation faced the prospect of rising taxes. The Administration not only prevented a tax increase, but also negotiated a series of measures to create jobs and protect vulnerable populations most affected by the recession by extending unemployment benefits for 13 months, preventing an estimated 7 million workers from losing their benefits as they search for jobs; allowing businesses to expense 100 percent of certain investments, which is estimated to generate more the $50 billion in additional investment and fuel job creation; and continuing the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Grants, which accelerate the growth of these promising industries and allow them to hire more workers. The Budget also proposes an upfront investment of $50 billion in infrastructure as part of a new surface transportation bill that will result in additional job creation from projects that improve the Nation’s highway, transit, rail, airport, and air traffic control systems, making the U.S. more competitive going into the future.

Extend Tax Cuts for Families. Several tax breaks that are important to families across the Nation were part of the bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act that the President negotiated and signed into law in December. The legislation extends the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit at $1000 level, rather than letting revert to $500. It also expands its refundability, which continues a tax cut that goes to 10.5 million working families with 18 million children. The expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, which is worth up to $600 for families with three or more children, and reduces the “marriage penalty” faced by some working married families, was also extended. Finally, to help students and their families pay for college, the Act included several education tax provisions, including making the student loan interest deduction more generous.  It also extended, until 2012, the new American Opportunity Tax Credit, a partially-refundable tax credit worth up to $2,500 per student per year that helps more than 8 million students and their families. The President’s 2012 Budget proposes to make that credit permanent. 

Strengthen Unemployment Insurance. As part of the Bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act, signed by the President in December, emergency unemployment benefits are extended at their current level for 13 months, preventing an estimated 7 million workers from losing their benefits over the next year as they search for jobs. Still, many States’ unemployment insurance (UI) systems are chronically underfunded and the economic downturn has severely tested their adequacy, leaving 31 states in debt at the end of 2010. To provide short-term relief in these States, the 2012 budget provides a two-year suspension of State interest payments on their debt and automatic increases in Federal unemployment insurance taxes while encouraging States to put their UI systems on firmer financial footing so they can pay back their debts and better respond to future economic conditions.  The Budget does so by increasing the minimum level of wages subject to unemployment taxes to $15,000 starting in 2014, indexed after that. In 2014, the taxable wage base will be nearly the same in real terms as it was in 1982, when President Reagan signed into law the last legislation increasing the wage base. In addition, in 2014, the Federal tax rate will also be lowered to avoid a Federal tax increase.  Despite the efforts of States to reduce improper payments, over $15 billion in UI benefits were erroneously paid in 2010, and the overpayment rate reached 11 percent, an increase from the previous year.  The Administration will tackle this problem by boosting funding for UI integrity efforts and proposing legislative changes that would reduce improper payments and employer tax evasion. 

Help States Provide Paid Family Leave to Workers.  Too many families must make the painful choice between the care of their families and a paycheck they desperately need.  The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take job-protected unpaid time off, but millions of families can’t afford to use unpaid leave. A handful of States have enacted policies to offer paid family leave, but more States should have the chance. The Budget supports a $23 million State Paid Leave Fund within the Department of Labor that will provide competitive grants to help States that choose to launch paid-leave programs cover their start-up costs. 

Support High-Quality Early Childhood Programs. Because effective investment in early childhood is so critical to children’s ability to reach their full potential and the Nation’s future economic health, the Budget includes $8.099 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start to serve approximately 968,000 children and families, maintaining the historic expansion undertaken with Recovery Act funds, in addition to the $350 million invested in the Early Learning Challenge Fund.  The Budget similarly includes $6.3 billion for the Child Care and Development Fund, an additional $1.3 billion, to support 1.7 million children with child care subsidies. At the same time, the Budget invests in improved quality: proposing principles for child care reform that focus on improving quality, protecting health and safety, and strengthening early learning; and supporting proposed regulations to strengthen Head Start by requiring low-performing programs to compete for funding.

Reform Child Welfare. The Budget includes $2.5 billion over 10 years to support a comprehensive child welfare reform proposal in order to help prevent abuse and keep children in safe homes and out of long-term foster care placements.

Promote Fatherhood. The Budget promotes strong family relationships by encouraging fathers to take responsibility for the emotional and financial well-being of their children, changing policies so that more of their support reaches their children, and continuing a commitment to vigorous child support enforcement. The Budget provides $1 billion over 10 years to encourage States to pass through child support payments to families rather than retaining those payments.  The Budget also provides $570 million over 10 years for States to provide access and visitation services, which can strengthen a father’s relationship with his children and facilitate the payment of child support. To help states through difficult fiscal times, in FY 2012 and 2013, the Budget provides an additional $300 million per year for State performance incentive payments, which continues an emphasis on program outcomes and efficiency. The Budget also provides for $75 million in Responsible Fatherhood grants and $75 million in Healthy Marriage grants in FY 2012.

Equip American Workers to Compete and Win in the Global Economy. In this increasingly interconnected global economy, it is important that we give American workers the capabilities and American businesses the tools to compete and win in the global economy. We must transform our economy from one too focused on speculation, spending and borrowing to one that is educating, innovating and building. The Administration is committed to smart investments in a lifetime of learning that will improve the capabilities of our workforce. The Budget proposes to:

  • Establish a Competitive Early Learning Challenge Fund. Recognizing that quality early education is an investment that pays off for years to come, the Administration proposes creating a competitive fund to encourage States to take dramatic steps to improve the quality of their early childhood development programs. 
  • Improve Elementary and Secondary Education. Too often, education funds are allocated based on factors not tied to success. In the context of  the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Administration is committed to consolidating narrow programs into broader authorities with higher, clearer standards and assessments; recognizing and rewarding schools and teachers that help students make gains; and giving States and school districts new flexibility to help all students graduate from high school, college- and career-ready. The Budget proposes to do this by expanding the successful Race to the Top program to school districts, funding the Investing in Innovation program and creating new “pay for success” bonds that invest in proven innovative approaches to student learning.
  • Consolidate Redundant and Stove-Piped Programs to Improve Outcomes. The Budget proposes eliminating 13 Department of Education discretionary programs and consolidating 38 K-12 programs into 11 new programs that emphasize using competition to allocate funds, giving communities more choices and using rigorous evidence to fund what works.  The Administration will make sure that, under these competitions, there is an equitable geographic distribution of funds nationwide.
  • Give Students Access to Successful Schools. The Budget provides significant funding to school turnaround grants to help States and school districts turn around our Nation’s lowest performing school and expand educational options by helping to grow effective charter schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve positive results. 
  • Launch “First in the World” Competition. The Budget invests $150 million in a new initiative to increase college access and completion and improve educational productivity through an evidence-based grant competition. In addition to these competitive grants, the Budget also provides $50 million in 2012 and a total of $1.3 billion over five years in performance-based funding to institutions that have demonstrable success in enrolling and graduating more high-need students and enabling them to enter successful employment.
  • Improve Job Training. The Budget provides funding for a competitive Workforce Innovation Fund that will allow States and localities to create and test new ideas and strategies for delivering better employment and education results and provides nearly $10 billion to fund Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs to match unemployed people with jobs and give people with skill gaps the training they need to secure employment. The Administration will also work with Congress to reform the WIA to better meet the needs of employers and regional economies.

Fund the Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. The Budget includes over $2.5 billion in HUD funds to make progress toward the goals of the Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, which was released by the President in June 2010. This includes over $2.3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants to maintain existing units and expand prevention, rapid-rehousing, and permanent supportive housing, and $145 million in new housing vouchers for over 19,000 homeless veterans and homeless persons who receive health care and other services through the Departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs. In addition, the Budget provides $50 million for new service coordinators and incentive fees, which will incent housing authorities to serve more homeless persons.  These funding increases will enable HUD to assist approximately 78,000 additional homeless individuals and families.

Combat Hunger and Expand Access to Nutritious Foods.  At a time of continuing need, the Budget provides $7.9 billion for discretionary nutrition program support.  Funding supports 9.6 million participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children WIC program, which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants and young children. The Administration supports implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, strengthening the child nutrition programs and improving children’s access to healthy meals.  As the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continues to serve an unprecedented number of participants, the Administration re-proposes to temporarily suspend the time benefit limits for certain working-age, low-income adults without dependents for an additional fiscal year.  The Budget also proposes to restore the SNAP benefit cuts that were included in Child Nutrition reauthorization. In order to combat food deserts, the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have partnered to make available approximately more than $400 million in financing to community development financial institutions, other nonprofits, public agencies, and businesses with sound strategies for addressing the healthy food needs of communities.

Continue Critical Funding for Health Centers. Health centers are a key component of the nation’s health care safety net.  These sites offer comprehensive, high quality, primary and preventative health care services to all Americans regardless of ability to pay.  Health centers will continue to be a critical element of the health system as the Nation expands insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2009, the Recovery Act provided $500 million to expand health center services to an additional 2 million patients.  The ACA continues this progress by investing a total of $2.2 billion in new resources for health center services in 2011 and 2012.  The Budget builds on this investment by providing an additional $2.1 billion.  In 2012, health centers are estimated to serve 24 million patients.

Bring Cost of LIHEAP Down to Previous Levels. During this period of tough budget choices, the President’s Budget provides $2.57 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help struggling families make ends meet by offsetting some of their home heating and cooling costs.  The Budget does not re-propose the creation of a LIHEAP funding trigger included in previous budget requests.  The LIHEAP program doubled in FY 2009 following an energy spike, but energy prices are now significantly lower, and the prior level is no longer sustainable.  The 50 percent funding reduction brings funding back to the level before the energy price spike. The Administration will continue to monitor energy prices going forward and will be willing to revisit program needs if there are significant price increases

Reform and Cut the Community Services Block Grant. The Budget cuts funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) by 50 percent. CSBG provides funding for the important work of Community Action Agencies but does not hold these agencies accountable for outcomes.  The Budget provides $350 million to fund the highest performing Community Action Agencies so that scarce taxpayer dollars are targeted to high-performing agencies that are most successful in meeting important community needs.

Ensure Proper Classification of Employees to Protect Benefits. When employees are misclassified as independent contractors, they are deprived of benefits and protections to which they are legally entitled, such as overtime and unemployment benefits. Misclassification also costs taxpayers money in lost funds for the Treasury and in the Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds.  Building on the 2011 President’s budget proposal, the Budget includes $46 million to combat misclassification, including $25 million for grants to states to identify misclassification and recover unpaid taxes and $15 million for personnel at the Wage and Hour Division to investigate misclassification.

Preserve Affordable Rental Opportunities. The Budget requests $19.2 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program to help more than two million extremely low- to low-income families with rental assistance live in decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice. The Budget funds all existing mainstream vouchers and provides new vouchers targeted to homeless veterans, families, and the chronically homeless.  The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress to improve the management and budgeting for the Housing Choice Voucher program, including reducing inefficiencies, and re-allocating Public Housing Authority reserves based on need and performance. The Budget also provides $9.4 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance to preserve approximately 1.3 million affordable units through increased funding for contracts with private owners of multifamily properties. This critical investment will help extremely low- to low-income households to obtain or retain decent, safe and sanitary housing.

Reduce Funding for HUD’s Largest Block Grants. The Budget reduces the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula program by 7.5 percent, or $300 million relative to current funding levels. CDBG grants provide funding for affordable housing development, infrastructure improvements and other community development needs.  In addition, the Budget reduces funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program by 9.6 percent, or $175 million relative to 2010 enacted.   HOME grants provide funding to increase the supply of affordable housing.  Both were tough choices that balance the need to decrease the budget deficit with the fiscal constraints confronting State and local governments.

Expand Support for Promise Neighborhoods. the Budget includes $150 million in dedicated support for Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which aims to improve college going rates by combining a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of supportive services in an entire neighborhood.

Revitalize Distressed Urban Neighborhoods. The Budget reflects an integrated and performance-driven approach to distressed urban neighborhoods, where the challenges tied to jobs, education, public safety, and other needs intersect and compound each other. The Budget provides $250 million for the Choice Neighborhoods initiative to continue transformative investments in high-poverty neighborhoods where distressed HUD-assisted public and privately owned housing is located, a significant increase from the 2010 enacted level.  The Budget will reach 5 to 7 neighborhoods with grants that primarily fund the preservation, rehabilitation and transformation of HUD-assisted public and privately-owned multifamily housing, and will also engage local governments, nonprofits, and for-profit developers in partnerships to improve surrounding communities.


85 thoughts on “Giving a Hand Up to Low-Income Families

  1. Yes indeed. Great stuff. Thanks for spreading the right information on President Obama’s budget, BWD.

  2. Wow, thank you so much for such an exhaustive compilation of information. It’s going to take me awhile to read through it before I make any comments at all.

    One thing, as I was scrolling through: expect to hear from the loony Left about what’s “cut”. I noticed he streamlined and stove piped something like 33 DOE redundant programs into 11, with some improvements. I don’t expect the frustrati to bother actually looking at the details.

  3. Luckily, I’m sure President Obama’s team has been working on this budget since the last one was signed! The Republicans probably spent about 20 minutes. Remember their one proposal last year – a chart with no figures on it? The comedians had a field day with that one, mostly because it was so … er … comical.

  4. Eek! OK, who was in charge of keeping an eye on Jesse Jackson?! He’s escaped the US and is over here and foolishly trying to foolishly interact with the school kids in a way that wise PBO would never do. Supposedly he is here to help low-income kids in a country that has a better program than the US and something about discrimination in a country that rarely gets anyone of color even wanting to come here. I don’t get it, but it sure looks like a boondoggle kind of a trip to me.

  5. And this is precisely why I love this blog’s coverage of news events. I’m not thrilled with some of these cuts, but it’s absolutely clear that the GOP is wielding an axe while POTUS is using a scalpel. I can’t imagine that the GOP has devoted this level of time and care to their proposal.

  6. Can anyone explain why Andrew Sullivan came back from his illness to blog today — and totally trashed the president’s budget plan?

    That was a large hissy fit, even for Andrew, and he now appears to be supporting Mitch Daniels.

  7. Lots of good stuff in here. Not too thrilled aobut the cuts in Community Development Block Grants or HOME funds, because the agency I work for has done a lot of good with them, but fortunatley they’re not being completley eliminated.

  8. So what’s with the scaremongering headlines at HuffPo ?

    Even the AP, which is likely where this story came from, said that the proposed budget “largely ignores” the slash & burn recommendations from the catfood commission and elsewhere.

    Of course, this is nothing new. Aryanna and HuffPo has been bashing Obama since approximately 13 minutes after he finished his victory speech on election night … 😛

  9. What they fell to realize a lot of these programs for the poor are corrupt we need to get real their is a lot of wrong doing in those programs.i live in the inner cities and know that underhanded things are done to give people who are not in need these benefits and not the poor especially in housing.

  10. if these programs was so successful, then why are their so much homelessness among working people and access giving to the ones who using the units to corrupt and cheat. we have to be honest.

  11. Sully’s gotta flex his conservative pundit cred every now and then or risk melting into the cauldron of over-paid talkers with nothing to distinguish himself.

    He’ll bounce back when he’s veered right enough to produce more contrary reader emails and fellow blog responses. LOL


  13. These programs should be given to those working or in schools. to many people with substance abuse who don’t work or go to school recieve section 8. It needs to stop.

  14. He was in such a state, I thought he’d have to take to his bed again. But he didn’t offer much of an explanation as to why.

    I’m curious to see his reader emails and fellow blog responses.


  15. He’s mad that POTUS is not a fiscal conservative. Even sane conservatives, because of President Obama’s appeal, sometimes delude themselves into thinking that he is indeed Republican as is claimed by our traveling circus of profiteering sensationalists who the media depicts as liberal spokespeople. The reality is that President Obama, while not demonizing or disdaining conservatives or conservative ideas where they make sense, is at core a pragmatic progressive. He’s making tough cuts here, but anyone who expected a hard right budget out of POTUS is simply straying away from the facts.

    That said, Sullivan had a hilarious piece recently: The HuffPo Model: Rich Liberals Exploiting Blog-Serfs For Millions.


  16. Except that many of those people have kids who would be punished alongside them…vocational and drug abuse programs seem to me to be a far better way to go than making Section 8 contingent upon employment and health.

  17. And I thought it was interesting to note that he was at CPAC. I pretty much had gotten the impression that he was bed-ridden.

    Anyhow, I just read his blurbs on the budget and about Ron Paul at CPAC. Interesting he could muster up ‘fiscal cowardice’ in reference to Obama given that pretty much nothing shakes this POTUS (not any issue, not any context, not the weight of history etc) and he and everybody else know this.

    I would’ve hoped he’d take the view of real economic policy differences in true conservatives v. liberals but instead he went the easy route. He’s irresponsible or a coward for not wanting to clean up the mess that the fake conservatives of his party saddled us with for the last 30 odd years. Whatever Andrew!

  18. I sent Sullivan an email because Mitch Daniels is my governor (crying). I told him that before he crowns Daniels a fiscal king, he needs to re-examine Daniels’ record as Bush’s first OMB director. The Clinton surplus left for Bush was squandered under Daniels. And, as Indiana governor, his privatization schemes cost the state millions.

    Daniels is another rich republican who inherited his wealth from his father and who doesn’t care about the middle class or the poor.

    This is why the republican elite keep trying to prop him up as a presidential candidate.

  19. I respectfully disagree. We have to at some point say enough for the children. People have to make a decision. I know its hard but its not helping anyone, ther person is still using drugs, destroying , their kids and taking away from the ones who is playing by the books and really needs help.

  20. Good Grief, BWD, it’s hard to keep up with all the information you are bringing out. These will give us great points. Haven’t read them all thru yet but plan too. I love all the pictures from Parkerville.

  21. It’s tough. We wouldn’t be in this situation if Bush hadn’t drained our treasury. I agree that we certainly want to encourage people to work and take care of themselves. At the same time, a lot of people with serious, serious mental illness have benefitted from Section 8 vouchers. These are people who are rebuilding their lives, and may be able to work agian someday, but probably not at a full-time level.

    The main thing, though, is that I trust that Barack Obama is putting together the best budget he can with the situation he has been given. Hopefully it will all work out.

  22. Im not talking about mental health people, Im talking about substance abuse. Ones with disabilities don’t have enough housing services for them.

  23. This is a period of complete and utter media excess. Rather than trying to articulate the merits of his position, he alongside many others, utilizes a character attack in attempts to force POTUS into a policy shift. It’s truly ridiculous because this disrespect is almost never returned by POTUS to the chattering classes.

  24. You know something, I’ve been looking for clearer information regarding the LIHEAP cuts because all I’ve heard for the past week is that Obama is cutting heating assistance for the poor, yes from the left part of the blogosphere. Now that I have some actual facts to push back a bit, I can see what the reasoning is about this and it makes sense. I hate the fact that people who I would normally be working with now have to checked as scrupulously as I would anything coming from Fox News. thank you once again, BWD and your hard working commenters for being such a great source of facts and information.

  25. The GOP needs to clean up their own house, not merely demand that Dems behave like an idealized version of themselves. Quite frankly, POTUS has made numerous concessions to centrists here; do people think that he really wanted to cut community grants? But he’s not now nor was he ever a pure conservative. They are not even able to live up to their ideals, as your terrific comment states. So they demand that Dems do so instead despite a deep philosophical difference? Please. I’m glad that you wrote to him!

  26. Very well said. Let’s not forget how we got into this mess, and it wasn’t via poor people receiving Section 8 and other benefits. It was via a GOP wanton spending spree and policies which imploded the economy.

  27. We’re going to have to disagree, Tulips. My view is that these problems are far better addressed by programs to help people enter the workforce, etc., not by merely cutting the safety net. I do understand your points, but I don’t agree with them. It happens, lol! 🙂

  28. Thank *you* ruemara for seeking out facts rather than uncritically absorbing whatever narrative is coming from spaces which have veered off course. Hopefully more and more people will tire of the screaming headlines, fearmongering (“catfood commission!”) and simplistic analyses, and seek more comprehensive sources of information. This space in particularly is really balanced and fair.

  29. Oh of course, When you been depressed for so long sometimes it takes things to get you back on track. Not all but some has become dependent on things and the ones in need like the elderly, the single parent and homeless vets get left out. here in chicago, they were selling numbers for section 8 and given them to their friends. I know a lot of people who did that. I choose not to live like that. Its not section 8 it the way it is managed. We have to be more accountable. The mind set has to be changed.

  30. Programs that could be tied into housing. yes we need more and better programs, we can’t allow them to just sit in their depression. I think we agree.

  31. LOL!! I sent Sully an e-mail too as soon as I read that post. I basically told him that I pity him and to remember the hopes he had for Paul Ryan.

  32. I think we’re probably in agreement that the WH’s focus on cracking down on fraud across multiple areas is beyond worthwhile. Because that’s what you’re thinking of: the small number of people who abuse these programs and probably need to be cut off, not cuts to a broad brush of people who may have problems but aren’t abusing Section 8, and instead need access to additional lifestyle and job programs to begin to combat some of these issues.

  33. Geez, reading that last sentence, I didn’t mean to invoke Fox”News” famous slogan, lol, but to say that in a true sense, this space seeks a very balanced analysis of facts both positive and negative, and discusses them in a fairhanded way without a lot of drama or histrionics.

  34. What are the success of these programs as is, I don’t want them cut but better managed.

  35. Mitch Daniels who was Bush’s first OMB Director from 2001-2003 and saw the Bush Tax Cuts passed without any corresponding cuts and saw the Medicare Part D passed without paying for it? That Mitch Daniels?

  36. Good for you too Temp. Sully needs to hear it because that post was just lazy to me and a reach to be the contrarian.

  37. And here’s where the president’s experience as a community organizer is going to be quite valuable.

  38. I had the same experience with Andrew Sullivan with Chris Christie. He thinks so highly of Gov Christie without really knowing the actual governing that’s happening on the ground.

  39. Saint Roscoe, you had a comment about Social Security not having anything to do with the deficit. Could you spell that out for us so we have good talking points?

  40. Yes, I agree. As a resident of New Jersey, I cringe at the thought of Christie being touted as presidential material.

  41. I thought you said it made you angry that people keep linking the two and that SS is not part of the deficit.

  42. Bingo. And POTUS can’t be that for him. Most of the country simply doesn’t agree with Sullivan about cuts to entitlement programs, and for good reason; it’s childish to throw a tantrum while insisting that POTUS ignore that reality.

  43. He’s been saying for a while that he would judge PBO harshly if he didn’t take on the entitlements, so here it is. But you’re so right, it’s unrealistic to expect a Democrat to start dismantling one of the star programs of the Dem party history, especially when people are so afraid of the future. And why should he? There’s a whole party that just “swept into power” on their fearless willingness to cut government down to size. Let them duke it out. In the end, if Andrew comes around, he’ll be doing another road runner piece on this.

    In the meantime, if he’s having a fit, I’ll pass. Someone please tell me when it’s over.

  44. Perhaps the mood at CPAC was contagious. Sullivan seems in high dudgeon and stamping his feet, ready to throw the president under the bus.

    He is a tad mercurial.

  45. Amen. Mental health care funding has been cut to shreds in most places in the country. And it’s improved mental health care funding that might prevent tragedies like Arizona.

    Here in the NY metro area, there are many seriously ill people who are out on the streets because they have no other recourse.

    And I speak from personal experience within my own family.

  46. Amen. Mental health care funding has been cut to shreds in most places in the country. And it’s improved mental health care funding that might help prevent tragedies like Arizona.

    Here in the NY metro area, there are many seriously ill people who are out on the streets because they have no other recourse.

    And I speak from personal experience within my own family.

  47. I need to make a general shout out to BWD for the work done on this site today concerning the budget.

    This is way all Democrats/progressives should be looking at this issue and helping our side gain the power it needs to turn this country around.

    I have a serious deadline at work and have not been able to read everything in detail. On a ‘slow’ day in my life, I live here at this site. But more instructive, frankly, is a day where I can just take a few minutes to get a general feel for politics. Here’s what I see today: a progressive, pragmatic direction toward a better America for more and more people. Some hard choices, a good deal of streamlining to make our government acccountable to the taxpayer and to the people that it helps. A budget that deals with reality and yet in a very real way, reaches and grabs the future from those who would deny us.

    Every site that says it supports Democratic or progressive values should understand this. BWD shouldn’t be a respite in the storm — there should be no storm from our side.

    Thanks, BWD, from the bottom of my heart.

  48. Gosh, remember when reporters would just analyze the facts rather than hold information hostage to personal agendas? Wow.

  49. What are you talking about relative to Jesse? Notice the block grants defunded,destroyed because they aren’t “accountable?” Do you know how many social workers and community workers will lose their jobs? Fuel assistance is being cut, and I can tell you oil prices are rising’ I can hardly afford to heat my house. Head start is being cut in almost all the states. As is Medicaid. I see nothng here that attacks the problems of the inner city. Smoke and mirrors. We have a black attorney general and he won’t even deal with the criminal justice system which discriminates against people of color and contributes greatly to the poverty of inner city people. The first two years the President had to prove to be President of all the people and play no favorites. Now, he must deal with the rest of “all the people” and seek to help the most vulnerable, and they are not the ones who lost their jobs in the crash. They are the ones who had no jobs before the crash. As I said, community college tuition is going up. Your list just proves what I have been saying. Poor people are simply not on the radar. I am going to say this, even if I get flamed. I think there is a groupthink on this site that is no different from DKos. The myopic, unchallenged accolades have become cloying. I was trying to discuss his core constituencies for the 2012 election. And what he and his cabinet need to do to be sure to get them on board. Nobody wants to talk about that. Only every word out of his mouth is the Gospel, every act an act of perfection…this doesn’t lead to winning. It leads to head in the sand adoration and a misjudgement of the enemy and the forces lined up against us. I can see I struck a nerve, hence this “list.” Look at it closely. It is targeted toward the middle class, whites mainly; the cuts are happening to the black community, to the poor. 17 tax breaks for businesses so they will hire. Guess what? They are hiring minimum wage jobs, if they are hiring at all. We need an industrial policy in this country. We need to start talking about wages, unions, and lifting people out of poverty into the middle class. It is past time already. I will be interested to see if he campaigns in the real tough districts in the cities. And what he will say. He sure ain’t saying, “If you work in America, you shouldn’t be poor,” anymore. He definitely needs to get out of the bubble and at least dialogue with the poor, the disenfranchised, the groups with the highest unemployment. At least demonstrate his concern. Even if at this point he can’t do anything about it. Perception is important. What is the good of only going to those plants with mostly white workers who have had some recent success? To highlight success. I think of Eleanor Roosevelt going into the damn coal mines. For that matter, I would like Michelle to do more also. They are both extremely intelligent, gifted people, with stellar educations. Most people are not so gifted. They are just average, ordinary, but do they not deserve a decent life, if they are willing to work for it? I am trying this one last time to engage this site in real conversation, which is not criticism of the President, but ways to reach core constituencies he needs to win, and also, to encourage efforts to help “the least of these.”

  50. Interesting comment some of which I agree. I lost my job Friday because of community action agency block grant cuts. I was a trainer for an adult based jobs program but I know I made out better than a lot; at least I got severance,and assurance my unemployment won’t be protested.

  51. And once again you are weaving a narrative with vague complaints which are inappropriately tethered to a (correct) moral argument that people are suffering heavily, this time including a caricature of this site as unduly approving of POTUS and engaging in “groupthink” because there was disagreement with your contention that President Obama has done “virtually nothing” for the poor, and for African Americans, two groups which you conflated repeatedly during the former discussion.

    1. The binary thinking (“I love all of his policies” versus “he’s done nothing for the poor or black people”) and unquestioning policy analysis to which you allude smacks of an exercise in sophistry and attempt to shame or belittle others into agreeing with something with which we simply do. not. all. agree., that being, your contention that POTUS has done little more than “hand out turkeys” in photo ops for the poor.

    2. I doubt that you’ll find anyone here who is happy with any number of cuts both in this proposed budget and the ugliness which is *guaranteed* to emerge from the process of engaging the GOP House. Believing that POTUS is doing what he can and is on balance doing a good job in a tough situation =/= “groupthink” “myopic, unchallenged accolades” or whatever other tired, rehashed canard pertaining to POTUS’ supposedly ignorant and cult-like base of support that you’d like to wield in your (polite???) engagement of this community.

    3. You might find that the person who dislikes the cuts to community grant programs the most is sitting in the WH. It is a netroots fiction that President Obama should and *can* impose his worldview upon the country rather than minimize the damage which the GOP’s influence (via their capture of the House) as well as the country’s deficit fetish is going to have on some crucial programs.

    If you have a specific policy initiative, by all means, suggest it. If you have an idea of how we can preserve spending in the context of a Chamber of the Congress which would like to cut the programs you have cited in their entirety, then by all means please enlighten us. But if your ideas and suggestions consist of nothing more than vague proclamations, some of which are demonstrably false, and citing controversial policies without taking the larger context into account, then I honestly don’t understand your point.

  52. I’m incredibly sorry about your job.

    I know that you are not saying that you agree with the entire comment posted by Preer, but I do have to note: one thing I’ve noticed is that the complaints about the (of course painful and strongly disliked!) budget cuts in POTUS’ proposal include absolutely no acknowledgment of what the GOP would like to cut, and how severe those cuts would be, and that indeed, the GOP is in charge of the House. That’s thus omitting an extremely significant context.

  53. Saying the republicans would be worse did not work in the midterms. Do you think it will work now? I did suggest some stuff. 1. Ag goes after racial profiling and inequities in the criminal justice system. Deval Patrick decriminalized marijuana in MA. MA and CA were the two states that really came out in force for dems in the midterms. 2. The President goes into into the inner city to dialogue and have town halls to show the average people out there that he cares and to explain how his budget and his budget cuts will benefit them in the long run. 3. Refuse to cut programs that are working and are helping the truly most vulnerable. 4. Move on education in a new way. Instead of rewarding high performing schools, take property taxes out of public school funding because if you live in a wealthy community, your kids go to a high performing school, if you don’t, they don’t. What schools do is get rid of the special ed kids, the at risk kids, who lower their test scores. It is a scam. I know. I have been there. Charter schools have standards to get in. So their population is going to do better than those who are struggling. 5. Show the connection between poverty and poor educational outcomes. 6.The fact that there are 48 million poor people in this country is a disgrace.He needs to say it.7. the first to suffer from foreclosure were blacks and latinos. Nothing was done for them. Where are they now? Does anyone care? Why do people have to stand in front of a black female homeowner’s house in the inner city where the woman has lived for 20 years, to prevent them taking her stuff and putting it on the street. He has done virtually nothing about foreclosure. Cutting Pell
    Grants? Didn’t we just celebrate that? 7. Make the point that the time for cuts is when
    the unemployment rate goes down. Not now. I also want to know how many supermarkets opened up in the black community, offering healthy, affordable food to people who don’t have cars and are forced to take buses to carry groceries home, or buy take out or overpriced stuff from the 7 11. You need to do something for the people who elected you. That is my point. Otherwise they will stay home.

  54. gn, seriously. Read the comments. Do a true analysis. “Great list, will read it later.” “Why did Sullivan trash the President?” are two I just picked out.

    Princess, I am sorry you lost your job. I think I am one of two people who spoke to that. I wonder why.

  55. It’s their right. If they can’t see that he’s doing the best he can in a trully terrible environment, media and political map – then they probably should stay home. I’m sure the next president will be better.

    I wonder why he’s got 90% approval among African-Americans.

  56. I’m not going to spend much time going back and forth; I’ll simply suggest that your accusations of groupthink and intellectual lack are both insulting and false, and analysis via narrative rather than fact remains unconvincing. Good day.

  57. Because most black people understand that those who are tearing down this President and setting unrealistic expectations, constantly moving goal posts, etc. mean black people no good.

  58. BWD if I can say one more thing in this thread before I head out for the day (I’m playing hookie from work and am about to enjoy this weather); I’m really unhappy about remarks which I think attack this community and discourage commenters from sharing their thoughts if they are not up to the “standards” of someone’s opinion. For example, below, Anita writes: gn, seriously. Read the comments. Do a true analysis. “Great list, will read it later.” “Why did Sullivan trash the President?” are two I just picked out.

    People asking for clarity or guidance interpreting stories, or who are busy yet take the time to pop in and leave a note to say that they appreciate this space and the time, commitment, and energy which you spend to maintain it—I don’t like to see this belittled or discouraged. One thing which I LOVE about this site is that people who were intimidated following your work elsewhere feel more comfortable raising their voices here, as no one makes fun of typos, or calls them stupid, or calls them sheep, or criticizes them for not writing as much as people like me who are blessed with unusual circumstances tend to write. I guess this is all to say that while I’m limiting my back and forth with Preer here, if I see this sort of comment, which in my opinion is not respectful of this community, again particularly in a more active thread, I’m going to have a lot more to say to her, while trying my best to adhere to the utterly civil tone which you have established here.

  59. Blackwater dog, are you going to ban me? You better have a good reason, based on what I have said in all my comments here. and I mean all. I defended you a million times on Kos, under the name Jonnie rae. Go ahead. Answer my points. Point by point. Show your leadership here. You can scapegoat me if you want, but I will still give monthly to OFA. As I have for the past two years. I have a right to expess my opinion, And it hasn’t been abusive or personally vindictive or attacking anyone. I await your response.

  60. You patronize over other members’ comments. I don’t mind anything that you’ve said regarding the president – it’s your right, as long as you don’t disrespect him and don’t use false information or the usual RW/PL talking points – but patronizing over other people’s comments is a no-no, and i hope it won’t happen again.

  61. I didn’t say that you insulted me, I said that your remarks are insulting to the community as well as false, and they were. If you find this community beneath your standards of dialogue and too dense to appreciate your sloppy narratives I must ask why you choose to engage?

  62. I’m going to break in here with a final comment and then suggest that if you really want to hash this out that we take it to an active thread.

    Your “points” comment was full of errors and omissions although of course there were some valid points here and there.

    Why I stated what I did was due to your comment pertaining to “group think” and calling out what you consider comments which do not meet your standards in a manner which I found insulting and inappropriate.

    I defended bwd and many others at dkos as well, which would not exempt me from criticism and critique if I for whatever reason decided tomorrow to caricature this community, this President, and his administration.

  63. gn, I am not patronizing anyone. Where do you see that? Be specific. You are patronizing me by saying I have some good points, “here and there.” I don’t know who you think you are. Characterizing comments as “cloying” I don’t think is patronizing. By groupthink, I mean, that everyone here must always circle the wagons, no matter what is going on. Even when I made it clear that I support the President, and was concerned about the turnout of the poor and minority communities in 2012, that was seen as an attack and a reason to circle the wagons, keeping me out. I stongly object to your tone, and I feel insulted, and unwelcome here. I left Kos. for the same reason. You don’t realize it, but you all are actually doing the same thing. Nobody is being caricatured. I am not even sure what you mean by that.

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