Budget cuts deeper into the wounds of the suffering

By Special To The Collegian

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Courtesy freeallabouthealth.info

Courtesy freeallabouthealth.info

By Ashley O’Neil

Yes, we know, there have been serious cuts for government spending. It’s all everyone could hear about for days in the news, and the government almost shut down in the process. Up until the very last minute Republicans fought to cut spending significantly from the wrong budgets. Then, Congress decided it would become a hero for a short amount of time and save 80,000 of federal workers from furlough. But, apparently this scare wasn’t a big enough deal to get America to care about making a change or take a public stance at harsh budget cuts affecting their daily lives.

So who is being affected by the hacking of funds? Apparently it is the groups that need the funds the most. And while the most vulnerable bits of society get pushed into a corner, everyone gets a piece of “the cut.”

The now Republican–led House is telling big billion-dollar corporations, “Hey great job, here’s a tax cut. How are you this morning six-figure-and-above-earner? You really earned a break with the IRS, didn’t you?

“Oh whoops, I didn’t see you there unimportant youth center. You’re way back there in the unnoticed and dangerous neighborhood. You’re cut. I’m sorry, what do you need single mother? A free mammogram from Planned Parenthood? Guess you didn‘t make the cut.”

Did we fix the deficit yet? No, not yet. There’s still public education, senior programs, and subsidized housing to dip into. They have plenty of money to fill the void, right?

This sounds harsh, but this is how I imagine the discussions among the Republicans that fully backed the slashes in our budget this year. Could it have gone any differently?

Former Ohio Democratic Congressman Tony P. Hall is so infuriated with the irresponsible actions of his Republican neighbors that he has called on America to participate in a hunger strike that began March 26, 2011.

In 1993, Congress cut the House Select Committee on Hunger, a program that was created to help the needs of poor and hungry people in America. Congressman Hall moved Americans by participating in a 22-day hunger strike to protest, a strike that many Americans and other congressmen also took part in.

Today’s budget cuts are so far beyond that one event in 1993, because multiple programs will suffer this time around. Women without access to basic OB-GYN care have higher risks of death due to undetected cancer and birth complications. Their children that depend on their community center programs or a free lunch at school will starve. The list goes on and on while the rich benefit from their continued favor by the GOP.

Former Congressman Hall has called on us again to participate in a new fast to protest the recent proposed budget cuts. Yes, cuts are necessary. Yes, there is a deficit. But are we supposed to lie here and take whatever they throw at us? No. We are young students that are going to be running this country in the next 10 years or so and we have to speak up.

President Barack Obama is just as outraged as Congressman Hall, speaking before the House on how these cuts proposed are completely out of the question. According to the New York Times, his speech on Wednesday called for a cut of $4 trillion dollars over the course of 12 years, and his goal is to keep up with “Democratic core values” as he reassesses what the Republicans were proposing for cuts. While the Republican proposed budget is planed to take 10 years, and will cut $4.4 trillion the programs being cut will hinder basic human rights. A vote took place in the House on Thursday, but the bill will only last through September 2011, making any current agreements extremely temporary.

The cuts do affect us, but we can change what gets cut and how Congress finds that money from those that can actually afford to give it up. The fast started March 26, but it will continue through April 24, (also Good Friday).

I myself have started the fast, along with 36,000 strong Americans with numbers rising. A community center leader in the Bronx, Heidi Hynes, recently posted an editorial-opinion in City Limits Magazine stating that she will “hunger and thirst for justice.”

Hungerfast.org provides more information about who is fasting and why. You can like it on Facebook, post a tweet on your Twitter, and give up on the McDonald’s for a few days while you reflect on the fact that there are 45 million Americans that are hungry right now and not by choice.

Even Kevin Anderson of World Food Program USA is promoting this cause, because what has been proposed has to be told “No.” Love your country, take a stand, get the idea out of your head that we can’t do anything about it, because it is our own mentality that prevents us from being able to make a change. Today’s Internet-addicted world should help us, not hinder us. Do the right thing, even if you are unable to physically fast, be aware and know your rights. This is our country and we need to take it back.

Ashley O’Neil is a Collegian columnist. She can be contacted by emailing [email protected]