Alternet: The GOP’s Idea of “Shared Sacrifice”: Slashing Spending for the Vulnerable While Letting Military Budget Increase

March 1, 2011- The Republican controlled Congress wants to cut $1.7 Billion from the operating Budget of the Social Security Administration. What effect would such cuts produce? Here's a summary of what would happen over the next 7 months:

* The Social Security Administration will have to furlough its employees for up to one month between now and the end of the year (according to its administrators).

* 400,000 people won't be able to get their applications processed in a timely manner for retirement benefits, Medicare, and survivor benefits, creating an ever-increasing backlog. Nearly 300,000 more will face additional delays in having their disability benefits processed, which would add an estimated 30 days to an already unacceptable 514-day backlog.

* Tens of thousands of internal reviews, which could prevent millions of dollars in inappropriate payments, will be delayed.

They also propose the following:

*[T]hirty million dollars, an insignificant amount in overall budget terms, from the fund for "Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies"? According to the National Oceanographic and Aeronautical Administration (NOAA), damage from coastal floods and storms costs an average $11.4 billion per year, which is nearly four hundred times as much as the cuts would save. […]

*… $330 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, which isn't even an expense item. It's revenue. That's the fund that administers all the assets seized by U.S. Customs, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, and the Coast Guard. […]

*$74 million from the FBI. $256 million from "State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance." $600 million from COPS, another program that gives grants for state and local policing. And more than half a billion from the IRS. That won't just help tax cheats and money launderers. It will also impede the government's ability to collect much larger amounts in revenue than these cuts will save, resulting in a bigger deficit than ever.

*[T]hree hundred and thirty-six million dollars from NOAA (you know, the folks who help predict hurricanes and extreme weather so you and your local governments can prepare for the worst in a timely fashion

Well, we all have to share the sacrifice of massive government overspending, especially crime victims, old people, disabled people, and people at risk of suffering from hurricanes, flooding, etc. Or do we? Here's what Congressional Republican's obtained in the tax deal last December? A $68 Billion estate tax benefit for the rich, i.e., taxes on estates after a $1 Million exemption for single people and a $2 Million exemption for married couples, over the next two years. That's a lot of revenue they left on the table. I don't know about you but my estate is not worth $million dollars so this doesn't effect me one iota. In future years that exemption will rise to $5 Million per person and the top rate will drop from 55% to 35%. Not much shared sacrifice there.


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