May 16, 2012
By Harry Kelber
It should disturb working people that President Obama and the Republicans have agreed on a list of spending cuts, amounting to a trillion dollars or more, without revealing precisely where the cuts will take place or how deep they will be.
Obama has publicly agreed that “entitlements” (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) must be cut. In a speech to an Associated Press meeting on April 3, the President boasted: “I’ve got the most liberal Democrats in Congress who are prepared to make significant changes in entitlements that go against their political interests.”
As a way to pay for the reduction in payroll taxes, Congress cut the maximum number of weeks that unemployment compensation would be paid, from 99 to 63 in “average” unemployment states, and 73 in high unemployed states. It also cut $15 billion in pension benefits for government workers.
It is understood that funds for education were slashed, with more than 1 billion taken from Title 1 grants to disadvantaged school districts; $900 million in cuts to special education programs, and $589 million to cut Head Start programs, which serve mostly low-income families. Congress lopped off $21 billion from health care appropriations, including $5 billion from the disease prevention fund.