Trump Looking to Cut $6 Billion from HUD

$6 billion

“The Trump administration has considered more than $6 billion in cuts at the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” according to preliminary budget documents obtained by the Washington Post. “The plan would squeeze public housing support and end most federally funded community development grants, which provide services such as meal assistance and cleaning up abandoned properties in low-income neighborhoods.”

In 1981 Interview, ‘Rove’s Brain’ Lee Atwater Connects the Dots Between Jim Crow Racist Policies and GOP’s Push for Budget Cuts

Lee Atwater
Lee Atwater
In 1981, the late Lee Atwater, political mentor to Karl Rove and George W. Bush and one of the originators of today’s Republican propaganda attack machine, was interviewed anonymously by political scientist Alexander P. Lamis for his book, Two-Party South. In the interview, Atwater explained how the GOP, in its appeal to Southern voters starting with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, reconfigured overtly racist policies from the Jim Crow era into Reagan-era economic policies, including particularly budget cuts targeting the poor:

LEE ATWATER: As to the whole Southern strategy that [Nixon political strategist] Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

QUESTIONER: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

ATWATER: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

(Sources: Hullaballoo, New York Times)

Tax Hikes Add to $6.6 Bil Windfall for Debt-Strapped California – But GOP Fights to Kill Them

Facing a $30 billion budget shortfall in 2009, the state of California raised taxes — a quarter-percent on personal income tax, 1 percent on sales and a half-percent on vehicle license fees.

“I’m not going to give the Republicans a roadmap to ruin. I’m giving them a roadmap to success.”
– California Gov. Jerry Brown’s moment of zen

According to Republican dogma, those tax hikes should have killed the state’s economic recovery. This week, however, Gov. Jerry Brown reported good news. The state is projecting $6.6 billion more in revenue than expected — some of which is unarguably a result of these modest tax increases.

In the five months since he’s been office, Brown and the Democrats who control the legislature have reduced the budget deficit from $26.6 billion to $15 billion, mostly through harsh cuts to education, health care and other safety-net programs.

The tax hikes would bring in an additional $11 billion next year, but, as of now, they are set to expire on July 1. Without them, severe cuts will be required to programs that serve children, the poor and elderly.

In the governor’s race last year, Brown campaigned on putting a measure on the ballot that would allow voters — also known as “taxpayers” — to decide whether to extend the additional taxes. He won the election by double digits, a clear mandate.

And yet, despite polling showing that the public favored the vote — and perhaps because polls also found that the measure would pass — the Republican minority “Party of No” in Sacramento killed the governor’s ballot initiative. It will not appear on the ballot next month as planned.

That’s right. Republicans blocked a measure that would allow California taxpayers to vote on tax policy.


Here’s a Common-Sense Place to Reduce Spending

Drug Incarcerations ChartThe war in Afganistan may have overtaken the Vietnam War to become America’s longest military engagement, but in terms of longevity, cost and futility, nothing can compete with America’s “war on drugs.”

The fact that the war on drugs is failing has become so obvious that even, the online portal of the Republican Party’s own propaganda channel, said so, at length, in an article published last May:

After 40 years, the United States’ war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread…

In 1970, hippies were smoking pot and dropping acid. Soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on heroin. Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win.

“This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people,” Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: “Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”

His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it’s $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon’s amount even when adjusted for inflation.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than: