As the battle to tackle the budget deficit and grow the U.S. economy, namely creating jobs, continues, Republicans seem to be more concerned with saving face than helping the nation get through these dire economic times.
The actions taken by the Republicans will have a major impact on those at the bottom of the economic ladder, mainly minorities and African Americans in particular. The GOP leadership and rank and file, in concert with backing from the tea party, have proposed cutting $61 billion in federal spending over the next seven months. They say that this move will grow the economy and create jobs, but the question remains, for whom?
Some economists have speculated that the cuts proposed by House Republicans could reduce economic growth by almost 2 percent. It has been postulated that each percentage point equals roughly 1.2 million jobs lost. If that is the case, and if history holds true, African Americans will be hit the hardest and bare the brunt of these proposed cuts. For example, if passed, these cuts will result in more than 200,000 children being removed from Head Start programs across the nation and a loss of $6 billion in Pell Grant funding. The federal Pell Grant program provides more than $4 billion to African American college students each year. Without the Pell Grant program, hundreds of thousands of young blacks would not be able to afford college.
The proposed Republican cuts would also include $70 million less for legal aid services, and a 9 percent or $84 million reduction in funding for the Small Business Administration.
The U.S. Supreme Court long ago ruled that opening access to education, as programs like Head Start and Pell Grants do for African Americans, is a primary right because the country is not served by promulgating a perpetually illiterate underclass. However, the Republicans’ goal is not to rebuild the economy, but rather to attack the most vulnerable of Americans economically and to wage ideological warfare on the backs of the poor and minorities. They do not want to balance the budget, but rather, to reward the wealthy while the poor get poorer.