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Obama’s Budget: Freezing the Poor

Posted on Feb 15, 2011

By Amy Goodman

President Barack Obama unleashed his proposed 2012 budget this week, pronouncing, proudly: “I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending—domestic discretionary spending—to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.”

Focus on the word “freeze.” That is exactly what many people might do, if this budget passes as proposed. While defense spending increases, with the largest Pentagon funding request since World War II, the budget calls for cutting in half a program called Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

LIHEAP offers block grants to states so they can offer financial assistance to low-income households in order to meet home energy needs, mostly for heating. Most of its recipients are the elderly and disabled. The program is currently funded at more than $5 billion. Obama is calling for that to be slashed to $2.57 billion—roughly half. This life-or-death program, which literally can help prevent people from freezing to death, represents less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the proposed $3.7 trillion annual budget.

Compare this with the proposed military budget. “Defense spending” is a misnomer. Until 1947-48, the Pentagon was officially, and appropriately, called the War Department. In the proposed budget released on Valentine’s Day, the Department of Defense request is $553 billion for the base budget, an increase of $22 billion above the 2010 appropriation. The White House has touted what it calls “$78 billion” in cuts that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is considering. But as the Institute for Policy Studies notes: “The Defense Department talks about cutting its own budget—$78 billion over five years—and most reporting takes this at face value. It shouldn’t. The Pentagon is following the familiar tradition of planning ambitious increases, paring them back and calling this a cut.”

The $553 billion Pentagon budget doesn’t even include war. To Obama’s credit, the costs are actually in the budget. Recall, President George W. Bush repeatedly called the expenditures “emergency” needs, and pressured Congress to pass supplemental funding, outside of the normal budget process. The Obama administration, nevertheless, has given the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan the Orwellian moniker “Overseas Contingency Operations,” and is asking for $118 billion. Add to that the $55 billion for the National Intelligence Program (a budget item for which the amount has never before been revealed, according to government secrecy expert Steven Aftergood), and the publicly revealed military/intelligence budget is at close to three-quarters of a trillion dollars.

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Obama’s 216-page budget doesn’t mention “Pentagon” once. He does invoke the name of President Eisenhower, though. Two times he credits Eisenhower for creating the national interstate highway system, and, as mentioned, boasts of the proposed spending freeze: “This freeze would be the most aggressive effort to restrain discretionary spending to take effect in 30 years and, by 2015, would lower nonsecurity discretionary funding as a share of the economy to the lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.”

If he is going to reference his predecessor, he should learn from Eisenhower’s prescient warning, given in his farewell speech in 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Another Eisenhower speech that should guide Obama was given in April 1953, before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, just two weeks after he was inaugurated as president. In it, the general-turned-president said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

This is one of the coldest winters on record. One in eight people in the U.S. is on food stamps, the largest percentage of Americans ever. More, as well, are without health insurance, despite the initial benefits of the health-care reform act passed last year.

Americans are cold, hungry and unemployed. By increasing military spending, already greater than all of the world’s military budgets combined, we are only spreading that misery abroad. We should get our priorities straight.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

© 2011 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette, February 24 at 6:52 pm,

You should read ‘The Neo-Liberals, Creating the New American
Politics’ by Randall Rothenberg
and ‘The Fear of Falling, The
Inner Life of the Middle Class” by Barbara Ehrenreich
.

“All the rest” isn’t all the DLC Neo-Liberal Middle Class, the DLC
Neo-Liberal Middle Class is only 20% of “all the
rest”  of the entire population and they include
the PPI, the 3rd Way and the New Democrats.

All working people, laborers, farmers,
unemployed, crippled, weak, old who have
worked, and young who will work are a class and
culture, the Common Population Class and
Culture, and must be represented politically as
the Common Population Class and Culture, and
neither the Corporate Democratic Party
represents this class and culture nor does the
Republican Party represent this class and culture, 
both parties treat them as children who
aren’t allowed to sit at the table and they are
the MAJORITY population, the 70% Majority
Common Population, the American Populace,
that’s class and culture needs representation in
the making and enforcing of legislated law and
order in the United States as a class and culture.


Unions represent some of the workers but do not
represent all, therefore the 70% Majority
Common Population needs a political party that
will represent the whole class and culture of the
American Common Populace, which is far from the
middle class, though they are propagandized as
part of the middle class to avoid representation
and/or benefit as a class and culture.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

THE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS

MA: ... if you add up the financial wealth in the pie on the right there is 1%, 4% and 5% which equals 10%, all the rest of the wealth is the Common Populace and the Toady New Middle Class. 

I doubt “all the rest” would consider themselves to be the New Middle Class. They are simply the Upper Middle Class of former times. 

And in those former times, their parents were the Upper Middle Class, meaning they probably inherited theIR wealth rather than earn it.

I am not sure what is so “new” about that ... but admittedly, there, I am guessing.

POST SCRIPTUM

“There are lies, damn lies and statistics”, as a statistics professor once said.

One strives to the best with that which one has available ...

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette, February 21 at 6:33 pm,

Lafayette said:  “It’s the top 20% of the population that garners 93% of the nations total Financial Wealth and 85% of its Net Worth.” — Lafayette, February 21 at 6:33 pm

That’s a percentage of wealth chart—not a population chart—if you add up the financial wealth in the pie on the right there is 1%, 4% and 5% which equals 10%, all the rest of the wealth is the Common Populace and the Toady New Middle Class.  Apparently from your statement, 10% of the Toady New Middle Class aren’t getting any wealth and the Republican GOP Conservatives and the Democrat Conservatives are making it even lower as fast as they can.

Hopefully the rally in Wisconsin protesting unequal benefit for workers will have some effect, but it will not unless there can be a new EQUAL political party for the 70% Majority Common Population that is EQUAL in every way with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, because neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party represent equally the 70% Majority Common Populace as a class and culture, to say so would be to lie.

I understand DLC Bill Clinton is going to Wisconsin to con the populace into thinking they have attained their goal and try and get the DLC New Democrats in front of their movement to squash it, because that is his job, to squash their goal, as well as my goal and all the 70% Majority Common Populations goals that will never be attained without a separate and equal political party that’s sole purpose and goal is to equally represent, separate from the Democratic Party,  the 70% Majority Common Population as a Class and Culture along side the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture represented by the Republican Party and the DLC New ‘Toady’ Corporate Middle Class and Culture represented by the Democratic Party. There can not be any DLC New Democrats, neoliberals, New Class, PPI, 3rd Way, Conservatives or Moderates in the Common Populace to subvert it, all those belong in their NEW CLASS Middle Class represented by the Democratic Party.  When an equal political party is attained for the 70% Majority Common Populace there will be equality in the United States for all the population.

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By Lafayette, February 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

MA: Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture that is only 10% of the entire population.

That depends upon how one defines “elite”. See the pie charts at this site here.

It’s the top 20% of the population that garners 93% of the nations total Financial Wealth and 85% of its Net Worth.

TeaParty that ...

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By MarthaA, February 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

The masses of the public at large will become aware of their power as the American Common Populace, which denotes no insignificance whatsoever individually, only a class and culture that needs to be realized in the United States, because as individuals there is no way to have equality with the two other classes and cultures, the Corporate Middle Class and Culture that will never shrink more than 20% of the population and the Corporate Elite Capitalist Class and Culture that is only 10% of the entire population.

Here are some definitions of common usage:

common:

1.  belonging equally to each or all of a group: The airwaves of the United States belong in common with the entire population of the United States. 2. of all; from all; by all; to all; general: common knowledge, 3. united, joined: Science and medicine form a common front against ignorance and disease. 4. belonging to the community at large;public: He sowed a slander in the common ear.  A commoncouncil. The common population of Egypt and Wisconsin USA are outraged at the government’s attempting to remove the workers common benefit.

common carrier:  A person or business conveying goods or people for pay, offering the service to the public generally, the common population.

common council: the lawmaking group of a city, town, etc.

commoner:  one of the public; a person who is not a nobleman. 

common land:  land that is used and enjoyed by the public and is not restricted to private ownership.

common law: 1. law based on custom and usage, but confirmed by the decisions of judges, as distinct from statute law2. the law of all countries whose legal systems derive from English law, as distinct from civil or canon law.  3. law based on the decisions of judges in actual cases; case law.

common market:  an association of countries for promoting free trade among its members by eliminating tariffs, duties, and similar restrictions, with a common tariff for external commerce.

common wealth1. the group of people who make up a nation; citizens of a state.  2. a democratic state; republic.  3.  any one of the states of the United States.  4. a number of people united for a common interest.

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By Cliff Carson, February 19, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy
I tuned in to C-Span this morning too late to catch your appearance in its entirety,  but I caught enough to realize that you and people like you and the Democracy Now organization are truly the hope for the future freedoms of the American people and indeed the World.  I don’t think I have ever been more inspired by what you represent and how you handled the public response.
When you spoke of Eisenhower’s warning about the “Military Industrial Complex” I recalled another comment he had made in a speech that has never received the publicity of that well known Military Industrial Complex warning.  He stated that “America is Great because America is good, If America ever ceases to be Good, America will cease to be Great”.  I have always looked upon this “WARNING”  as equally important .
You touched on the importance or Morality in Governance when you were talking about the lie of Weapons of Mass Destruction being used as an imminent threat to the United States and the need for war on Iraq.  Since the Government knew better, it was a most immoral and vile act.  That the Corporate Media also likely knew better and failed to raise the red flag was also an immoral and vile act.  But it seems that the Corporate Media and the Military Industrial Complex and our Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum political system is locked into an incestuous relationship.  I call it Blood Profiteering.
A Republican called in to refute your words about the WMD issue being a lie and as an example he offered the 500 tons of Yellow Cake shipped to Canada as a proof.  What he didn’t say and maybe because of his ignorance didn’t know ( and I didn’t hear you say this ) is that that yellow cake was the stockpile of fuel for the Baghdad Nuclear Power Generator that the Israeli’s bombed years earlier.  The Reactor was never rebuilt and therefore the yellow cake was never used.  Yellow Cake cannot be used to make a bomb.  Canada bought it to use in their own Nuclear power stations.  The United States Government has always known that the yellow cake was there.  They also have always known it is and never was a threat.

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By Lafayette, February 19, 2011 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

PRIVATE AFFLUENCE AND PUBLIC SQUALOR

John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard economist and author in 1956 of The Affluent Society, worried that the United States had become a nation that tolerated the existence of “private affluence and public squalor.”

I WISH I WROTE THAT DEPARTMENT

For a brilliant résumé of the present situation of Income Unfairness see here.

The challenge of Income Fairness remains America’s most important since its inception. Because, since its inception, American’s have believed the bunk that “the rich get richer and the poor get poor” was somehow God’s will.

Even if one could prove that a Loving God existed, I doubt profoundly that s/he would profess such a specious belief.

MY POINT: The Money Men

Some poignant facts:
* After FDR’s New Deal, we overlooked blithely the poignant warning President Eisenhower (a Republican!) gave us as regards the Military-Industrial-Complex and its undue influence on politics.
* In the 1980s, we bathed in the luminous guidance of Reckless Ronnie Reagan who dangerously reduced both marginal income and capital gains taxes even further warping Income Fairness.
* Billy-boy Clinton, whom many thought would “change all that”, himself was swept away by the silliness of the dot.com boom ‘n bust of the 1990s, which caused him to pronounce (in a State of the Union address) that the Retirement Fund should be invested in the stock market so addled by the Money Men had he become.

If, we, the people, cannot look after our own backsides, then by what naiveness should we expect our politicians - regardless of their party affiliation - to do it for us? They have failed to do it time and time again. Why?

Because to change our political class, we must reform the grassroots mentality that elects them.

Those who rail against the present context bemoaning the schemes and cabals and collusion of Vested Interests that deny us the option of more Social Justice are quite wrong. They are pointing the finger of blame at the consequence and not the cause. The American body-politic is politically naive and highly manipulable - barely half of them even bother to vote.

Which is shameful. In a democracy, we, the people, elect those who represent us. Thus we have nobody to blame but ourselves for having overlooked so long a right and privilege for which people today, in some places on this planet, are dieing.

It’s time for third-party politics in the form of a Social Democrat Party presenting a Progressive Agenda to America. It will take a decade to implement such a structure and have it known as the Left’s Response to the TeaPartiers. That’s minimal timing for a grassroots movement that both educates and elucidates.

All the more reason to get started now, not tomorrow. Because as American history demonstrates all too clearly in the matter of Social Justice tomorrow never comes.

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By drunkfoulmouthfilthybeast, February 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

I know of a way to warm the hearts of the chosen to face the unwanted horse winter. First, we go ahead and obtain that engine the defense dept. doesn’t want but, John"the tear-drop/fear-drop” Teabag Boner’s demand that it is imperative that we keep this power plant. Then we invite Boner to a congratulations party, when we lure him in, we take “his” engine, cram it up his arsh, lock him in storage in a tanning bed/bar combo in case he has claustrophobia. Now, we have a bargaining chip in case China calls in our debt, Just tell them it’s a Human missile that can fly and cry on Que. That way we can spare the poor of perpetual frost bite and China will have a National Roman Candle without having to invade Rome again.

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By anaman51, February 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

If the conservatives have their way with this issue, we can expect to see streets in American towns and cities eventually become littered with desperate, hungry, sick and dying human beings. There will be nowhere else for them to go, nothing else for them to do but die in the gutter. At that point, we will have achieved commonality with major third-world suckholes like Calcutta and Mexico City; our squalid poor and the lack of empathy among those who are vastly better off will be exposed, in the open for all to see. At that point in time, America will assume the mantle of a third-world cesspit in all respects, becoming another festering chancre on the face of the Earth. Our nation has lost its conscience; it has, in effect, traded the souls of our poor and disabled for the riches to be gained by remorseless acts of corporate greed, and our most helpless citizens will be forced to cover the expenditure with their lives.

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By Rodney, February 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The owners of this country the Chamber of Commerce told
Obama that he nothing but a slave who they can remove
from office if he doesn’t go along with the program.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM

From FactCheck.org/ Budget Spin

A word of caution: It’s a long read, but gives a good understanding of how practically no one who should know (in LaLaLand on the Potomac) can talk straight about the Budget.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, February 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

War Department?  Defense department? It really should be called the Offense Department!

Maybe they can burn some of the fat off those pork barrels for heat?

You know if they freeze all the old people to death, Social Security may last longer, maybe even past 2047 this would save on Medicare too, think of all the extra money that can go to the War Department? Fill those capitalistic coffers of the War Department, seems soon they may need a new war, since things are going splendidly well in Afghanistan. Choose, Iran or Pakistan, who will it be,.... damn they both have Nukes….we need to do something, lets raise the price of everything, that will do it and solve our War Departments problem.

If Obama is a Muslim, why is he so into attacking Muslim countries? I think it is all coming together and making sense now!

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 18, 2011 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

IN ABEYANCE

This article is a pathetic jumble of arguments that just not hit the bullseye. The journalist’s heart may be in the right place (on the Left), but her articulation of What’s Next for the Dems is wrongheaded.

Americans were suffering before the election and they will continue to suffer after the election ... well up to the next election. When Obama will either be reelected or sent back to Chicago.

The Left had all the time necessary before the midterm elections to make the above arguments that Goodman cites. But now the damage is done. With the Right in charge of the House, then no money bill (which must originate there) will expand spending on the poor or any part of a Progressive Agenda.

And to think so, as Ms Goodman seems to do, is sheer folly. Ms Goodman, thankfully, is not PotUS - otherwise she would be thinking, “Well, given this mess, what can I get out of the House to be handed to my friend Reid and voted out of the Senate?”

The budget we have seen is that budget - and it will be even further constrained as Boehner and his Replicant Jocks show the world they have balls (instead of brains).

The Progressive Agenda, reborn with Obama, is back in the DogHouse. I don’t like that, you don’t like that and anybody with a Reasoning Brain should not like that.

But that’s the way the cookie crumbles when 38% of the body politic vote with their arse instead of their head.

Rather than lament the past, let’s do what the Replicants did after the 2008 debacle - they started then organizing to win in 2010.

The Dems must do the same in preparation for 2012. The Progressive Agenda is not dead, but in abeyance.

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By Lafayette, February 18, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Obama’s Budget: Freezing the Poor

Journalistic hyperbole. One must presume that, by such scary nonsense, the journalist will capture our attention?

Probably so, if one is just a step above stupid.

The budget is in response to an effort to constrain spending as expressed by the will of We, the People, in the mid-term elections. Or, rather, the 37.8% of us who bothered to turn out to vote.

Whether right or wrong, the Will of the People in a democracy must prevail. But when Right & Wrong, then expect disaster.

TeaParty that ...

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By shanbaleelah, February 18, 2011 at 1:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We Americans vote with our emotions not with our logic. Mr. Obama had made it quite clear by his voting record that he was going to continue Bush’s policies. Democrats missed a golden opportunity to put Nader in the White House, mainly because they wanted a hawkish president to protect them from terrorism.

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By MarthaA, February 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

It isn’t just the Reaganistic Conservative Obama administration of the Democratic Party causing the problem, it is the Conservative Reaganistic Republican Party/Democratic Party Duopoly ruling class that is the problem and government of the people is going to get increasingly worse until the 70% Majority Common Population unite and do what the common population of Egypt did.

http://www.alternet.org/story/149944/inspired_by_egypt_—_the_incredible_power_of_non-violent_protest

As long as there is a Conservative Republican Party/Democratic Party Conservative EXTREMIST Duopoly, there is no hope for the 70% Majority Common Population for equal political representation other than the Egypt solution for a new political party representative of the 70% Majority Common Population and Congresses changed in Washington DC and all over the country to accommodate the representatives of the New Political Party representative of the 70% Majority Common Populace.

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By gerard, February 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

The only thing colder than the little old lady in a room off Cheap Street in Stark City, USA is the heart of the nation that permits it.

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By gerard, February 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

The only thing colder than the little old lady in a room off Cheap Street in Stark City, USA is the heart of the nation that permits it.

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By stevadpr39, February 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Abomanition had 24 trillion to hand out to Wall Street.  He turned the U.S. Treasury Dept. over to Goldman Sachs’ henchmen.  Abomanition has unlimited funds for endless wars but he is going to cut social programs,  IMPEACH B.O.

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By MarthaA, February 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Tobysgirl, February 16 at 10:00 pm,

As in France’s Marie Antoinette’s way before the French Revolution, REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House John Boehner says if your mother freezes, “so be it”.  Republicans and Conservatives are of the opinion that WAR and GREED are good.

Republicans and Conservatives will not be able to see any way to cut back sufficiently in their war campaign to avoid freezing and starving members of the majority common population, because freezing and starving members of the common population is good Conservative and Republican business, cuts down on the population and makes it easier for Conservatives and Republicans to maintain their fiefdoms.

Sooner or later, the 70% Majority Common Population are going to learn who they are and how much power they have, but it may be later, because so many still think they are Middle Class Conservatives and Republicans against their own best interest, and uniting as the 70% Majority Common Populace for the best interest of society as a whole is just out of the question.

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By Meribeth Seaman, February 17, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In addition to a 50% LIHEAP cut, the President’s budget also proposes a 50% cut for CSBG. This is the main funding source for Community Action programs accross the country. The CAPs run Head Start programs, food pantries, microbusiness programs, housing assistance and numerous other programs that assist low income folks. Many of these are elderly and disabled, but now, more and more, it includes people who have always been able to take care of themselves but now find themselves out of work and having run out of unemployment benefits. Without Community Action to help fill the gaps, these people will have no where to turn. Sargent Shriver - founder of C.A., Headstart and many other similar programs - must be turning in his grave!

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By gerard, February 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

P.S.—I see by the side-bar that Senator McCain is offering himself as the kind old man in Washington who wants to make us aware of how he spends our money.  He advocates our going on a diet by not eating “pork,” the “other chicken” that has been promised in every American pot for absolutely years to utterly no avail.  Where’s the beef in what these guys say?

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By Tobysgirl, February 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

And, EXCOOOOOSE ME, but it’s people like my mother who benefit/benefited from LIHEAP. My mother lived on $500 a month Social Security in a one-room apartment heated electrically. The only assistance she would apply for was LIHEAP because no one saw her using it. She would not apply for food stamps due to the common and vicious American attitude freely expressed at the cash register toward those who use them.

I can’t believe people are so stupid about programs such as this. I live in Maine and people desperately need this program; due to climate change and those enormous ice cubes cooling the ocean, we have had an old-fashioned, cold and snowy winter. People who receive LIHEAP do not have the money to build solar-heated homes, erect windmills, etc; many of them are living in rent-subsidized apartments. And, yes, people in Maine have frozen to death in the winter.

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By LT, February 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The point is to make people desparate enough to work for slave wages.

Any questions?

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By bogi666, February 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s get the “supposed” Pentagon budget reduction, not spending cuts, clear. The proposed reduction is a reduction of future increases only. The fact that their is so much confusion over the $78 billion reduction in future increases is revealing. TV reporters/reciters have referred to this as spending deductions, budget reductions but peculiar to TV reciters none bothered to explain the fact that it was a reduction of future increases, not an actual reduction in reality. The D.C.MSM lackey’s just recite the USG/MIC, MAFIA INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, propaganda line even enhancing it based on the fact that the American public is just plain stupid, which it is.

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By gerard, February 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

SoTexGuy:  ...“would be forced to find a way to service that part of our society.. or risk competition from true public utilities.”
  As in banks being “forced” to give back the homes whose mortage payments to date they have stolen when they took back the homes.  As in parmaceutical corporations being “forced” to stop charging $10 for a pill that costs them 2 cents to make. As in oil companies “forced” to stop leaving poisonous pollution behind when they leave a country.  As in ...you name it.  “True public utilities”? You must be some kind of Communist or something??
  And “... the mind set seems to be that programs like this dispense our greater responsibilities for lasting improvements in the quality of life for all Americans.”  Where does this idea come from?  Without the stingy welfare programs we have now, the lot of the rest of us who plug some of the gaping holes with private contributions would be even closer to the breaking point.
  Have you seen any corporate CEOs cooking meals in churches feeding the homeless?  Any Wall Street dudes
dropping thousand dollar bills into Salvation Army kettles year-round?  And don’t tell me about Gates and so forth, and aids in Africa.  Well and good, but a month’s cost of modern war would set up our poverty-stricken masses, urban and rural, for a year.
  The public money we put into social welfare is peanuts.

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By rollzone, February 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

hello. my brain is bombarded with spending. cut social
security, and the elderly freeze and die. cut other
spending, and we loose more jobs than anyone can
imagine (those are the figures). spend taxes ten years
into the future, because after next year we will all be
dead. progressive reformers, just take my money, and
leave me alone. black collar crime doesn’t need a
voice, it needs a muzzle. have they no dignity?

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By FRTothus, February 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

There are only two parts to the Federal Budget, two types of spending: Discretionary and Non-discretionary.  Non-discretionary are those funds that go to pay the ever-increasing national debt.  It has been a long time in the US since we’ve even been able to keep up with the interest payments.  The Discretionary spending is everything else: Federal wages, the billions spent on the US War of Terror, and the crumbs left over that fund social programs.  The Military/Pentagon/War budget is discretionary, as much of an “entitlement program” as any other, but much more wasteful with the nation’s resources and resulting in far less return (except for the well-connected few who profit from war and armed conflict.

As for Obama, fascist is as fascist does.

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By Pigbitin Mad, February 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I will bet a lot of the people freezing voted for the republican party.  We can’t have change as long as we allow the stupidest people to vote.  I think I would rather have a benevolent dictatorship at this point.

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By Lee 156, February 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like so many people who voted for Obama I believed President Obama would bear a striking resemblance to Candidate Obama.  Now that we’re married I discover he loves someone else as much as me.  It looks like in 2012 I’m going to have to chose between the half husband Obama and the lunatic the Republicans are sure to nominate.  For those of us who believe the country needs to reverse its rightward slide into a middle ages type oligarchy there will be no one to vote for next election. 
And for the life of me I can’t figure out what induces Obama to want to court the other side.  They hate his guts, ridicule him at every opportunity, mock his wife, and have publicly stated their one goal is to destroy him.  I voted for a politician who promised to be on my side, not some guy with a messiah complex who seeks a crown of thorns and a nailing to the cross.
The right is winning the war against the middle class.  The left is being led by a general who firmly plants the white flag of surrender before every battle.
To paraphrase the generals in Vietnam, the only way to save this country is to destroy it.  If Fox news can induce enough folks out in the heartland to pull the lever marked “R” in the next election and then when the last factory job leaves for China, perhaps America can have its Egyptian moment and say enough is enough.

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By purplewolf, February 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Obama, the newest member of the Repukelican Party.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 16, 2011 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

As with Reagan, Obama is another great pretender.

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By tedmurphy41, February 16, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Since he was elected as President of the United States, he has been backsliding into a meaningless caricature of what he was, and what he stood for, in his explosive and radical speeches prior to the elections.
Goodbye Barack: everyone who voted for him can only think, wistfully, of what might have been had he been as strong as his rhetoric.

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By SoTexGuy, February 16, 2011 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Go get ‘em Amy!

I agree with you but consider an alternate view..

Programs for the poor like the one mentioned are well-intentioned but the money does not go to poor people. It’s handed to the utility companies and propane and oil dealers as a kind of price support.. Really, those payments are enabling an entire industry that left without them would be forced to find a way to service that part of our society.. or risk competition from true public utilities.

Indirectly these subsidies enforce the status quo of poor-quality energy-wasting housing, the stagnation in new energy ideas and development plus sabotage the drive for universal employment at a living wage and guaranteed retirement… since the in-our-face spectacle of a few thousand grandmas freezing (or steaming as in a Texas summer)in their homes would be too much for even our hollow public officials to ignore.

Ms. Goodman’s article, by intent or accident classifies the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program as an entitlement not a stop gap… another in a long list of things that somehow a growing number of Americans are expecting.. And of course she’s right, people sometime need help.. But the mind set seems to be that programs like this dispense our greater responsibilities for lasting improvements in the quality of life for all Americans..

Anyway, it’s the corporations that benefit from these patchwork subsidies and entitlements more than anyone.. The monies given out, food stamps, SSI, Medicare (for the poor an indigent) and part D for drug subsidy and who knows how many other programs.. actually subsidize poverty and wages too low to earn a living.. A huge segment of our workforce could not afford to be Wall Mart greeters or whatever without those subsidies.. wages would have to rise and commodity prices would be held down.

But heck.. why the worry? All the liberal wonks have been shouting for deficit spending to cure the economic crisis.. didn’t I hear Obama say that despite all these cuts his new budget would result in another $7 trillion in debt?!

Adios!

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By surfnow, February 16, 2011 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

you gotta love the MSMs “fair and balanced” reporting on the federal budget….blahblahblahbladdeficit…cut..cut…cut defeicit..blahblah..cutentitlementscutentitlements…blah blah…cut social security…blah…

and not a single blah on the defense budget

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By gerard, February 16, 2011 at 1:16 am Link to this comment

”—a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years.” 
  Well, he said it was a “freeze”, didn’t he?  Winter is the appropriate time for a “freeze,” right?
Warmth comes in the Spring, right?  If you have warmth in the winter, that’s global warming, right?
Don’t worry.  Be happy!  It’s only for the next five years.  By that time the corporations will have stolen all our money, all the food and water will be poisoned by chemical pollutants, and we will have won the war in Afghanistan.  Everybody can nod off in a sea of dreams about American exceptionalism and Glenn Beck’s blackboard lectures will be running 24 hours a day on all stations telling us we have to believe in God and take our country back—if we can still manage to get up off the couch, find our left shoe, and walk to the corner where the grocery store used to be.
  PS—I’m not really as cynical as this, but it’s hard to keep down the rage in any other way.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, February 16, 2011 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

Well, what do we expect from this murderous white house lawn jockey? Decency? Compassion?

There’s not a spark of humanity left.

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By SteveL, February 16, 2011 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

If Obama cannot end the wars and the rest of the insane military spending we
have a country stuck on stupid.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

Well Amy, do you finally realize who Ojama represents?

Who and what he stands for, because it sure as hell isn’t the people who voted for him.

Recently he gave papa Bush a medal, the medal of Freedom, that’s who Ojama cares about, old rich Republicans.

Meanwhile, people are freezing and starving because of his continuation of the Bush adminstration policy’s. As many have said before Ojama’s presidency is a continuation of the Bush adminstration.

Hell Obama, is probably a CIA mole.

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