The Common Good

Rally to Restore Balance to the Budget Debate

A few weeks ago, members of the House spoke out against the House Agriculture Committee’s vote to cut SNAP benefits to working class Americans. On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) rallied on the Senate-side to restore balance to the budget debate and avoid sequestration in conjunction with a report on the effects of such cuts.

The premise of the current debate is that all the cuts have to come from the non-military, discretionary budget. Harkin reported that since we last had a balanced budget (Clinton-era), discretionary funds have risen 0 percent as opposed to a 73 percent increase in the Pentagon budget.

"If you want to cut out waste and abuse, [the Pentagon] is where you get it," Harkin said.

We have two sets of rules, he said. One set for the rich, and another set for the rest of America. This equals out to tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for the poor and middle class.

“We shouldn’t have sequestration. Period.”

Harkin and colleagues acknowledged that there has to be a mix of cuts and revenue in order to reduce the deficit. But the deficit cannot be reduced by cutting programs that strengthen our country, such as education and job training (programs that didn’t put us into debt in the first place).

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton during the rally reminded the crowd that nothing is more important to national security than education. Sequestration will cut education. He lamented that “statesmanship” — the art of arguing and finding compromise  — has been lost on D.C. politicians. Members of Congress must be able to compromise in order to avoid sequestration and deadly cuts for America’s working and middle classes.

 James Colten is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)