Stop putting off structural budget decisions

Cutting dirty energy subsidies has to be a priority. Are we going to continue paying oil and gas companies to charge poor families more for winter heating than they can afford?

The president’s commitment to funding education is admirably highlighted in this proposal. However, other valuable programs such as community development block grants are being gutted. Nickel and diming our way to economic recovery, especially on the backs of working Americans who did nothing to cause our economic problems, is not the right way to go. 

Rather than slashing LIHEAP and community grants, which didn’t cause this recession and generate more in economic activity than they cost, we have to look at the kinds of structural decisions that we’ve put off for too long. Reining in our military expenditures cannot wait forever. 

Setting appropriate tax levels for the top two percent of earners, who got a break in last year’s tax package when Republicans filibustered a Democratic middle class tax cut bill, has to happen if we’re serious about fiscal responsibility.

We need to take a hard look not just at this year’s numbers or next year’s numbers, but at our entire approach to budgeting. Ending federal payouts to oil, coal and timber companies who only use them to line executives’ pockets is an excellent way to start. 

We need to look at common sense ways to raise revenue for the public good and save money over the long term, not just cut assistance for low income families until there’s nothing left.