Monday, February 14, 2011

Pres. Obama's Budget Proposal Draws Fire From Arizona Right, Left

Two of Arizona's Congressional delegation have forwarded reaction's to President Obama's budget proposal.  Both criticize.  One from the left, one from the right.  In order of appearance:

--Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) came at it hard:
“The people of my district are hurting. For years they have had to live within their means, work with smaller and smaller budgets and try to make more with less. The government should work no differently. The days of writing blank checks should be over. The U.S. taxpayer has no more to give- they can barely make it on their own and the last thing Washington should do is fund a government spending spree at the expense of our small businesses and families. We’re broke.

“My Republican colleagues and I have been making headway. We have worked together to make meaningful cuts and we will continue to listen to the American people and say enough is enough to the big spending ways of the past. Right now we have to make tough decisions, but the reality is we can no longer continue to spend our way further and further into debt.

“I am disappointed in the President’s budget. It calls for $3.8 trillion in spending this year alone, it raises taxes on hardworking families, small businesses and job creators by $1.6 trillion and it will leave our nation with a $1.6 trillion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. We cannot afford this budget and I hope that the President will listen to the people and begin to make significant reforms so that we can get our nation on a path toward fiscal responsibility and economic certainty.”
--Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7), a co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, hit it from the other side:
“The president’s proposed budget makes significant cuts to several important federal efforts. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would see funding drop from $5.1 billion to $2.5 billion, which has rightly prompted concerns about why families struggling to keep warm in winter are being asked to shoulder more financial burden than Wall Street executives. Cutting dirty energy subsidies has to be a priority. Are we going to continue paying oil and gas companies to charge poor families more for winter heating than they can afford?

The president’s commitment to funding education is admirably highlighted in this proposal. However, other valuable programs such as community development block grants are being gutted. Nickel and diming our way to economic recovery, especially on the backs of working Americans who did nothing to cause our economic problems, is not the right way to go. Rather than slashing LIHEAP and community grants, which didn’t cause this recession and generate more in economic activity than they cost, we have to look at the kinds of structural decisions that we’ve put off for too long. Reining in our military expenditures cannot wait forever. Setting appropriate tax levels for the top two percent of earners, who got a break in last year’s tax package when Republicans filibustered a Democratic middle class tax cut bill, has to happen if we’re serious about fiscal responsibility.

We need to take a hard look not just at this year’s numbers or next year’s numbers, but at our entire approach to budgeting. Ending federal payouts to oil, coal and timber companies who only use them to line executives’ pockets is an excellent way to start. We need to look at common sense ways to raise revenue for the public good and save money over the long term, not just cut assistance for low income families until there’s nothing left.”
Of course, the end result will be within the extremes and will look far different than it does today.  There will be twists and turns along the road.  But, today is the day for all parties to truly begin staking out their positions.  Hopefully, with the full knowledge that compromises need to be made.

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