(A publication of Project 21, 20 F Street NW, Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 507-6398; Fax (301) 498-1301.)
Date of Issue: May 1995
The rhetoric of some of the leaders of the Black Liberal Establishment on proposed changes in the budget is excessive and irresponsible, argue members of the national Advisory Council of the black American group Project 21. In an appearance on Capitol Hill last week, Myrlie Evers-Williams, the new head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said: "Imagine the monstrous consequences if Newt succeeds in making starvation public policy in a society where the poor are heavily armed." Later, Evers-Williams added that "... force is sometimes justified in the self-defense of justice." Congressman Major Owens (D-NY) also made comments on what a continued Republican dominance in Congress might mean in the future: "There is a kind of calm around here before the storm. As far as I am concerned, I feel a sense of dread [that occurs] before a massacre takes place, because that is what I feel is in store ... It is not exaggerating to say that we are about to behold something similar to a group of barbarians burning down a city."
"The Wall Street Journal reports that 52 percent of black Americans believe the welfare state does more harm than good but that reality is lost on the Congressional Black Caucus and leaders of the NAACP," stated Brian Jones, Director of the Center for New Black Leadership and Project 21 member. "Not surprisingly, ordinary black folks know that the liberals' safety net has sadly become a black widow's web. The threatening rally cries of Major Owens and Myrlie Evers-Williams are the last gasp of a dying order."
"Black Americans know that since 1960 federal government programs have squandered many resources, lifting few out of poverty while putting more into poverty," says Edmund Peterson, Chairman of Project 21. "The so-called black leaders now attacking balanced budget proposals have revealed their vision of a promised land that many black Americans reject: merciless bureaucrats enforcing big government fiscal policies at the behest of irresponsible policymakers."
"While the budgets that have passed the House and Senate Budget Committees timidly duck a desperately-needed overhaul of Social Security, they go far to bring about a saner and more responsible federal government," says Project 21's Deroy Murdock, President of Loud and Clear Communications, a marketing and media consultancy. Murdock points out that "scrapping the Departments of Commerce, Education and Energy and erasing such things as Youthbuild and the National Diffusion Network are major steps towards restoring a central government as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington rather than Lyndon Johnson and George Bush. GOP budget-writers should ignore the rhetoric about painful 'cuts' and strive toward budgets that actually spend less in the future than today's budget."
Both the House and Senate Budget Committees have passed budget packages that balance the budget by the year 2002. The greatest difference between the two budgets is that the House plan incorporates over 300 billion in tax cuts that passed through the House in March, while the Senate budget contains no tax cuts. The House Budget plan would eliminate 283 programs, 14 agencies, 68 commissions, and three cabinet departments. The Senate plan would cut 1 trillion dollars over 7 years by achieving savings from almost every major spending program except for Social Security and by eliminating the Commerce Department and 100 federal agencies. The Democrats have offered no alternative budgets to those proposed by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
Both the Senate and House budget proposals on reforming Medicare have added to the controversy surrounding the budget battles being fought in Congress. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicare will grow at a rate of 10 percent a year through the year 2005. If that trend continues, Medicare will go bankrupt in the year 2002, says CBO analysts. In an effort to prevent bankruptcy, the Senate passed a budget that slows the rate of Medicare's growth to 7.1 percent a year achieving a savings of 256 billion over seven years. The House budget calls for cutting spending from 1.9 trillion to 1.6 trillion on Medicare over seven years, an increase of 340 billion from what is currently being spent. Under the House budget, annual spending on each Medicare recipient would increase from $4,700 this year to $6,400 in seven years. Even so, liberal critics have accused Republicans of being insensitive to the financial needs of senior citizens.
Pastor Dwight Williams of New Bethel Baptist Church in Stockton, California is encouraged by proposed changes in government spending habits. "In their disastrous attempts to guarantee a better life for our children, our so-called leaders have nearly spent away any hope our children hold for the future," Williams believes. The owner of an export-import company, Williams continued, "Rather than empower government, taxpayers have been telling legislators to consider empowering people. It appears from the budgets being considered in Congress that our elected leaders have finally heard that message."
Project 21 is a black American leadership group that seeks to offer new solutions to problems facing American communities. For more information, contact Project 21 at (202) 507-6398.
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