Sunday, September 23, 2018

Vermonters Remain Impoverished in Federal Budget--Sanders, Leahy, Welch Silent

Our Congressional Delegation—Leahy, Sanders and Welch--do an absolutely lousy job educating Vermonters on the federal budget and how we all get fleeced by Trump and the Republicans. The Defense budget is the most obvious, the 2017 federal budget, part-year President Obama compared to the two Trump budgets, the one we operate under right now, 2018, and the “base” budget Congress has agreed to starting October 1 for 2019, total increase is $73.9 billion, over 15% in two years when we had just ended the Iraq War and sharply curtailed troops in Afghanistan.  Based on Vermont's per capita share of $2 million per billion of federal expenditure we undertake an additional $147.8 million share of Defense expenditures, fiscal year 2019 over fiscal year 2017. This truly is “huge.” For example, the 13,000 Vermont renter households (about one in seven statewide) receiving federal “affordable housing assistance” (30% of income max for rent) consumes about $106 million funds. (Federal budget increase in a recent decade of affordable housing assistants units, 1%.)The defense department increase equals about 1 ½ times total affordable housing assistance in Vermont!  The  Which to you prefer, serving the needs of 1,800 households on housing assistance waiting lists alone here in Chittenden County or $148 million for defense? Likely and correctly Leahy, Sanders, and Welch will say if they did not support the $73.9 billion defense increase, the Republican Scrooge Brigade would have gutted housing assistance and most other discretionary social support programs like our community health centers and child services. Fine, Congressional delegation, but tell the truth every day how this year Vermonters anti-up $147.8 million to support more F 35s, the Afghanistan War, etc. Each breath of criticizing a Supreme Court nominee, single payer health, or farmer subsidies, tell us Vermonters where our program increases tax money goes to—more F 35s and military drones. The lack of honesty from our Vermont political leaders helps explains frustration building up since about 1980 over the accelerating maldistribution of economic benefits which mostly accrue to the top 1%. Sad comment on the so-called leaders of Vermont with its town meeting government where town budgets get screened down the the last penny. 

The argument made by Democrats is that since 2000 they controlled the budget only for two years at the beginning of the Obama Administration when getting out of the biggest economic hole since the depression--justifiably--was task one.  But the stagnation of incomes began with Reagan in 1980 as did the almost four decade into economic inequality, a level now seen since the 1920s.   Yet the senior political leadership shuns addressing the class war won by the rich!