02 January 2006

A hit on students, elderly

Today's Toledo Blade contains a very good editorial about Congress's recent spending cuts.

An excerpt:
When it came time for Republicans in Washington to show where their hearts are, here's what happened: Vice President Dick Cheney zoomed home from Asia at warp speed aboard Air Force 2 to cast the tie-breaking 51st vote in the Senate for the budget bill, which, in addition to slashing college aid, also makes nasty cuts in spending on medical care for the elderly and the poor and drops new unfunded mandates on the states.

This was legislation conservatives in Congress had demanded so they could assure voters next year that they had done something to curb federal spending. At the same time, lawmakers are hoping the public doesn't realize that this cut is only a faint scratch in a budget larded with tax cuts, war spending, and carefree pork-barrel projects that will balloon - not reduce - the size of the deficit.

As it turned out, a full one-third of the $39.7 billion lopped off the federal budget in the lawmakers' pre-Christmas rush will be realized in reduced college aid and higher interest rates on student loans.

As painful as the cuts in educational assistance may be to middle-class students and parents, two-thirds of the cuts target the least fortunate among us - the elderly and poor who have medical problems.
[Read more.]

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