We have to make sure our members of Congress make the right choices when addressing our deficits. It’s about priorities and values. We know that we can’t end poverty through our soup kitchens and individual charity alone. The federal government must play a role. Through programs like WIC, SNAP (formerly food stamps), Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, our country has made tremendous gains in terms of nutrition, infant mortality, and children’s health care. Anti-poverty programs work—if they’re funded.
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National Gathering 2011
2011 National GatheringThe Federal Budget: Why it Matters to Hungry and Poor People
The Budget Timeline: How does the federal budget process work? www.bread.org1. President’s Budget Request2. Congressional Budget Resolution3. Appropriations4. Debt Ceiling5. Other Budget Bills (deficit reduction, entitlement programs, taxes, balanced budget amendment)
Budget Basics: Where do our federal tax dollars go?• Programs for low-income www.bread.org families are a fraction of government spending.• They have played virtually no role in creating our deficits.• 1/3 of non-security discretionary spending goes to state and local governments.
Budget Myths and Realities:• Myth: Our deficits don’t www.bread.org matter.• Reality: The long-term fiscal outlook is of serious concern.• Myth: Our current deficits are so out of control that we must address them immediately with painful spending cuts.• Reality: Our immediate focus must be on strengthening the economy and creating jobs.
Budget Myths and Realities: www.bread.org• Myth: Government spending is out of control.• Reality: The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recession itself are why we see high deficits today.
Budget Myths and Realities: www.bread.org• Myth: Government spending is out of control.• Reality: The real threat is the long-term structural imbalance between spending and revenues. – Rising health care costs – Aging population – Insufficient revenues Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Reducing Deficits and Poverty: We Don’t Need to Choose www.bread.org• We need to address deficits.• Ending poverty and hunger requires government action.• Anti-poverty programs have had a powerful impact.
Cap on Overall Federal Spending www.bread.org• Limits all federal spending (share of the economy)• Keeps programs from growing• Entitlement programs structured to grow when there’s more need
Balanced Budget Amendment www.bread.org• Requires the government tobalance the budget every year.• Government can’t run deficitsduring recessions.• Supermajority requirement towaive.• Most states have BBAs• Would force harmful cuts inlow-income programs—especially during recessions
Triggers www.bread.org• Sets a debt target• Automatic across-the-board cuts and/or taxincreases if targetsmissed• Intended to forcecompromise in Congress
Circle of Protection www.bread.org• Create a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.• Historical precedent over the past 30 years.