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Juventud Rebelde, Cuba

Vacations, the Homeless
and Budget Cuts


By Juana Carrasco Martín

Translated By Kate Wheeler

25 December 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager


Cuba - Juventud Rebelde - Original Article (Spanish)

There is one week left until the United States falls over the “fiscal cliff." A combination of cuts in government spending will be made, mainly to social and federal services such as education, health, unemployment benefits and other aid available to lower income people. These cuts will accompany an income tax increase, which Democrats and Republicans just can’t seem to agree on.

News agencies report that Democrats in the Senate and the White House are working on a new proposal so that negotiations with the Republicans can recommence immediately after the Christmas break.

Negotiations need to be recommenced because the politicians that govern the destiny of the American people have gone on vacation. President Barack Obama and his family celebrated Christmas in Hawaii. American politicians seem not to view this as an urgent event, although the goal is to reach an agreement before the end of the year.

On Thursday lawmakers scheduled a new session in the hopes of reaching an accord in the Senate and pressuring the House of Representatives to accept the same proposal.

“Governing is a shared responsibility… Nobody gets 100 percent of what they want. Everybody has to give a little bit in a sensible way," said Obama before he left for Hawaii, indirectly sending a message to the dominating conservative Tea Party Republicans, who viciously oppose any increase in taxes to the wealthiest in the country.

The conservative stonewalling has even been called a “miserable failure” by the EFE Agency. The so-called “Plan B” that Speaker of the House John Boehner presented barely called for increasing tax burdens for households reporting more than half a million dollars of annual income.

However the EFE reported that Obama had already made “significant concessions,” such as agreeing to raise the threshold for households that would pay a tax increase from $250,000 to $400,000 annually, in order to raise revenue.

In short, it is difficult to touch the wealthy. Possible changes are discussed ad nauseum, and in the end, only the absolute minimum is done in order to support the nation. Selfishness and greed live in these high-income “homes.”

Budget cuts, i.e. cuts in fiscal expenditures, are estimated to be 2 billion dollars in the next decade. Obama prefers a higher percentage of revenue of 1.4 billion dollars over 750,000 million dollars in expenses.

What is the problem? If Democrats and Republicans do not reach an agreement, taxes will increase for ALL Americans. This would result in low income families paying a higher percentage towards taxes than American millionaires, who are enjoying tax-cut extensions that were approved during the Bush administration.

At the same time, cuts to public spending are automatic and were agreed upon in the summer of 2011.

Some economists say that this situation will lead the United States into a recession at the exact time when they are very slowly beginning to improve after the crisis of 2008.

What is striking is that no news agency or analysts mention the suffering of a major part of the American public.The fact is, the number of the homeless is increasing. According to the Huffington Post, the Census Bureau found that 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty, which is roughly 15 percent of the population. This basically has not changed since 1993. At the same time, middle class income is shrinking and unemployment remains stubbornly high.

It is obvious that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing. The report recognizes this, but it doesn’t seem that important.

While the politicians were on vacation, in Staten Island, for example, one of the districts of New York where Hurricane Sandy left thousands affected, many were warming themselves by bonfires outside small tents. These tents had been given to help those who were without housing. Incidentally, I believe that the additional budget to help the victims of Sandy has not yet been approved…



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