We have been tracking the debate over the 2011 and 2012 budgets and watched with horror how Congress is proposing to slash the very programs that we as anti-hunger advocates consider essential to address domestic and global poverty. (These are the same programs we worked on as Bread for the World advocates for 30-plus years).
The latest outrage is a proposal by Republicans in Congress to cut $832 million from the supplemental program for Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and they are proposing $2 billion in Food Stamps below what President Barack Obama's administration estimates would be necessary for next year.
On the international front, they are proposing a 31-percent reduction, $457 million, from a food assistance program that provides emergency aid and agricultural development dollars to poor countries.
An article in The Huffington Post provides more details. And here is a summary from Bread for the World.
For many months, we in the anti-hunger and anti-poverty advocacy community have been urging Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. To make this point, Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Bread for the World President David Beckmann and former U.S. Representative Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger led us in a fast. The fast led to the Circle of Protection for the Poor.
The one thing to remember is that this is only a budget proposal, and that the numbers are not final. This is the time to contact Congress, Democrats, Republicans and independents, to express our view that the budget cuts should not target the poor. Bread for the World, the Food Research and Action Center and dozens of other organizations offer sample letters and action alerts.
Here's where we can find money to balance the budget...
All along, we have been leaving it to Congress to find the the cuts elsewhere. Now, I'm going to be bold and propose one place where we can find money to balance the budget. The five biggest U.S. oil companies are getting $2 billion in tax breaks. They claim that such breaks are needed to grow domestic energy supplies and create jobs. But critics argue otherwise.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell, BP and ConocoPhillips have poured millions in recent years into share repurchase programs, which help increase the value of the companies' stock.
Read more in The Houston ChronicleStock buybacks are perfectly legal, and investors can benefit. But critics say the practice undermines industry arguments that doing away with $21 billion in federal tax incentives over the next decade will jeopardize energy production and jobs.