Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Hypocrisy, thy name is Bush
National Disservice: Why the administration thinks it can get away with plans to cut a relief program that helps thousands and changes young lives.
By Jonathan Alter
Updated: 12:20 p.m. ET March 14, 2006
March 14, 2006 - It’s a form of hypocrisy that’s becoming emblematic of the Bush era. Four years ago, President Bush held a big photo-op to showcase after-school programs at a Delaware Boys and Girls Club—then cut funding for the very after-school programs he was touting. After pressure, funding was restored.
Will the same thing happen this time? Two years ago, Bush had his picture taken in Florida with idealistic young members of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a small, team-based AmeriCorps program that works on environmental and disaster relief projects. “I’m a strong believer in AmeriCorps,” he said. “I want to thank you for your service, thank you for your hard work and may God continue to bless you and your families as you pursue your dreams.” Now, those dreams are at risk of being deferred. In his fiscal year 2007 budget, the president is proposing not just to trim the NCCC, but to eliminate the $25 million program altogether.
(snip...please read the entire article)
And when you're done that, if the outrage meter still has a little room to go (or you just want to see if you can break the needle once and for all), read what tidings Little Man proposes for the Small Business Administration and programs for minority, women, and micro entrepreneurs in his 2007 Budget:
Senator John Kerry's Views and Estimates Letter on SBA's FY2007 Budget
Honorable Judd Gregg
Committee on the Budget
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Kent Conrad
Committee on the Budget
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Judd and Kent:
As the Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I submit the following views and estimates on the President's FY2007 budget request for the Small Business Administration (SBA or Agency) and other matters under the Committee's jurisdiction in compliance with section 301 (d) of the Congressional Budget Act. I thank you for considering the Committee's views as you prepare the FY2007 budget.
FY2007 Budget Request Overview
The President has requested $624 million for the SBA's FY2007 budget. According to the SBA, taking into account adjustments for disaster loan funding and Congressional earmarks, the President's request is $17 million less than funding available in FY2006. When put into context, if adopted, the FY2007 budget would mean that the SBA has been cut 41 percent, maintaining its
status as the federal agency that has been cut the most since President Bush took office.
To realize those cuts over the years, the President has made the SBA's loans and venture capital more expensive by raising the fees on borrowers and lenders; has caused credit rationing and the shut down of the SBA's largest loan program because of inadequate funding and lack of oversight; has reduced counseling to businesses; has been lax in its oversight of federal contracting, causing small businesses to lose billions out of the $300 billion in federal contracts; and has mismanaged the disaster loan program, which was on the brink of being shut down twice last month, with 130,000 Gulf Coast business owners and homeowners still waiting for their loan applications to be processed.
The President's FY2007 budget request will only exacerbate the past problems as the SBA tries to meet the needs of the country's small businesses. Specifically, the FY2007 budget would eliminate the SBA's microloan programs; cut the Women's Business Centers and the Small Business Development Centers after five years of flat-funding; fold four critical programs into the Agency's operating budget by eliminating their line-item funding, which will prevent Congress and the public from viewing the amount of funds spent on these initiatives that serve under-represented groups in our communities; impose a new fee on borrowers seeking loans and venture capital from the SBA; and increase the interest rates that borrowers pay for disaster loans. ...
(snip...much more at the link - 7 pages.)
Sure seems like Little Man doesn't like small business very much. Or at least, he doesn't like the small business that might be started by folks like you and me.
Between the two items, you have to wonder if the republicans will still try to say that they believe in giving "a hand up, not a hand out." Doesn't look to me like they're planning to extend very many hands to lift people up, they're too busy yanking back any that were put out there in the past.
Monday, March 06, 2006
There * goes again: another performance measure axed
U.S. Plan to Eliminate Survey of Needy Families Draws Fire
Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Wed Mar 1, 9:54 PM ET
WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar 1 (OneWorld) - Researchers and legislators are rallying to block a Bush administration plan to scupper a U.S. survey widely used to improve federal and state programs for millions of low-income and retired Americans.
President George W. Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2007, which begins this October, includes a Commerce Department plan to eliminate the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
The proposal marks at least the third White House attempt in as many years to do away with federal data collection on politically prickly economic issues ranging from mass layoffs to employment discrimination.
Founded in 1984 after six years of development, the Census Bureau survey follows American families for a number of years and monitors their use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, child care, and other health, social service, and education programs.
Supporters of elimination say the program costs too much at $40 million per year. Rather, they would kill it in September and eventually replace it with a scaled-down version that would run to $9.2 million in development costs during the coming fiscal year. Actual data collection would begin in 2009.
The fight over SIPP evokes at least two similar campaigns of recent years.
In 2004 and 2005, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women's Policy Research led a successful campaign to reverse a Bush administration plan to drop questions on the hiring and firing of women from employment data collected by the BLS. Pressure from researchers, policy designers, and lawmakers proved essential to that success, the group said.
In 2003, similar advocacy prompted a budget shuffle and saved the monthly BLS Mass Layoff Statistics report.
Please follow the link and read the entire article!
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Sharp contrast between Kerry, Bush receptions in SE Asia
In January of this year, John Kerry performed a typical world-leader tour of several nations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Last week, George W. Bush followed in his footsteps...except the reception for Bush was rather different than John Kerry received.
Funny, the mainstream media seem to be missing this contrast. They report on the demonstrations, effigy-burnings, rock-throwing and so forth meeting Bush's visit, and the 5000-person security detail required to protect the so-called "leader of the free world"....and one might think that the citizens of India and Pakistan are full of vitriol for the U.S. as a country.
But it's not the U.S. - it's not Americans that they hate. It's George W. Bush and his administration.
How else can you explain that John Kerry did not need 5000 security guards to protect him? John Kerry was not met with raging protests. John Kerry traveled amongst the people and was greeted with affection. And he, too is an American. So why does the media allow the implication that the reception of George W. Bush in these countries has anything to do with how they feel about America?
As an American, I fervently hope that the people of India and Pakistan think of America as more accurately represented by men like John Kerry, than by George W. Bush.