December 18 2017
Special Tax Bill/Budget Bill Edition
- Make Calls to Oppose Tax Bill
- UN Special Advisor Visits U.S., Reports on Extreme Poverty
- Tax Bill Will Result in Cuts To Aid to Poor
- Hiding in the Budget Bill: Rolling Back Nutritious School Lunches
- Join The Fight Back Against Poverty in the U.S.
Make Calls to Oppose Tax Bill
(From our colleagues at California Food Policy Advocates)
Action Needed TODAY! GOP Tax Bill Would Set Up Cuts to SNAP, Health Care, Anti-Poverty Programs
GOP leaders in the House and Senate are planning bring their tax plan to the floor this week in hopes of sending a final bill to the President for signature before Christmas. Recent public statements by GOP leaders indicate that the tax bill is the first step of a likely one-two punch that will increase hunger and hardship for low- and middle-income families:
Step 1) Pass costly tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that drive up deficits by $1.4 trillion, then
Step 2) Use higher deficits to justify calls for cuts to programs that help low- and middle-income families, including CalFresh and Medi-Cal.
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY!
TELL THEM TO REJECT THE GOP TAX BILL
It is critical that the California delegation, especially our 14 House Republicans, hear from constituents this week that the plan is bad for low- and moderate-income Californians and the state's fiscal health.
Call (202) 224-3121 or click here to find your Representative.
Tell them to reject this flawed plan that would divert resources to the wealthy and large corporations, reduce health care coverage, and set up massive future cuts to programs like CalFresh and Medi-Cal that help millions of working families and the most vulnerable
UN Special Advisor Visits U.S., Reports on Extreme Poverty
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Philip Alston of Australia, spoke to a packed house in Skid Row at the LA Community Action Network two weeks ago. He followed this up with a walking tour of Skid Row, and visited a few other places in the U.S. during the week observing life in low income communities. His report to the UN shows a country on top of the world in the fields of wealth and technology not lifting much of a finger to help 40 million people living in extreme poverty.
Alston took note of the tax cut bill currently in Congress, and described it as "essentially a bid to make the US the world champion of extreme inequality".
Tax Bill Will Result in Cuts To Aid to Poor
It is well known that the tax cut bill is deliberately designed to not be able to “pay for itself”---to create a deficit that will then be used as a justification to cut domestic spending programs in health, education and welfare. Social Security and Medicare are targets, as are SNAP, school meals, and what remains of cash payments to families with dependent children---CalWORKs in our state, many of whose beneficiaries are victims of domestic violence and fleeing bad situations.
Nonetheless, the Republicans will attempt to create a public narrative that the poor are “undeserving” and lazy ---Rep. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has already floated a meme in that regard, remarking that people would have more savings if they didn’t spend so much on “booze, women and movies.”
Michele Gilman breaks down some of those myths in this article. Stereotyping of welfare recipients worked back in 1996 when the safety net was first destroyed: it will only succeed this time if people are uninformed as to the true facts.
Hiding in the Budget Bill: Rolling Back Nutritious School Lunches
While the GOP races to pass the tax bill, they are also on deadline to pass another federal spending bill just to keep the government running beyond Friday Dec. 22 There are numerous “riders” in the bill designed to achieve longtime conservative goals. One of those is better nutrition for kids. It’s a sell out to the industries that crank out unhealthy fat, sugar, salt and preservative-laden product that is designed to make a quick buck for the junk food mongers without regard for the consequences of eating that stuff day in and day out for 12 years in American schools. Excerpted from Lisa Gilbert’s article:
” The United States indisputably is suffering from an obesity epidemic, which significantly harms its fiscal and physical health. Diabetes, a common result of obesity, costs more than $200 billion in annual treatment costs, much of it borne by federal programs. The federal government has some leverage to improve children’s nutrition through its role in funding school lunch programs. But the House would use this opportunity to go another direction. Its bill grants an exemption to a requirement for the use of whole grains in school lunches, permits the sale of flavored milk in school lunch programs and terminates a study Congress called for in 2009 on the effects of marketing food to children. The study was unpopular with the cable television industry.”
Trump’s new rollback of many regulations also includes relaxing one implemented by President Obama that would require retailers accepting SNAP, especially convenience stores, to stock a larger variety of healthful foods. The government spending law blocks the USDA from implementing that rule in its current form.
Join The Fight Back Against Poverty in the U.S.
The tax bill and spending bill both portend worsened poverty in our country, or at least an official policy of neglect. Learn more about the new Poor People’s Campaign launched this month from co-chairs Dr William Barber and Dr Liz Theoharis:
“Half a century later, the conditions that motivated the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign have only worsened, making the need for a new moral movement more urgent than ever. Compared to 1968, 60% more Americans are living below the official poverty line today – a total of 41 million people. The gap between our government’s discretionary spending on the military versus anti-poverty programs has grown from two-to-one at the height of the Vietnam war to four-to-one today.”
“That’s why, this month, poor and disenfranchised people along with clergy and moral leaders nationwide launched the Poor People’s Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival, to challenge the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and our distorted national morality.”
“The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, which will be highlighted by 40 days of direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience this spring, is not a commemoration. It’s an acknowledgment that, 50 years later, there is still so much work to do to foster a revolution of values in America.”