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The Payback: Why Aren't Black Voters Rewarded by the Party That Depends on Them to Win Elections?

February 8, 2018 in Blogs

By Ebony Slaughter-Johnson, AlterNet

Democrats need to do more to protect black Americans from institutionalized racism.

At his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Trump sent out a clarion call that portends where he will set his legislative sights next. “We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity,” Trump insisted.

Translation: Expect cuts in the social safety net.

As the path of the Republican tax plan toward passage grew clearer, so did the threat to the social safety net. With major, permanent tax cuts for corporations, and by extension the wealthiest Americans, and (temporary) tax cuts to individuals that also disproportionately benefit the wealthy, experts argue this bill will contribute as much as $1.5 trillion to the deficit. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues have made clear that they intend to use the social safety net to finance the tax cuts. Said Republican Representative Rod Blum, “For us to achieve three percent GDP growth over the next 10 years from tax reform, we have to have welfare reform.”

Now that the bill has passed and been signed into law, the threat to the social safety net is existential. While making the rounds on the various morning talk shows boasting of the Republicans’ “accomplishment,” Speaker Ryan argued (and Trump later echoed), “People want able-bodied people who are on welfare to go to work, they want us to get people out of poverty, into the workforce.”

It’s hard to understand the logic behind undermining the funding streams for programs that keep people out of poverty in order to “get people out of poverty,” but clearly the Speaker is not the only one who subscribes to that line of thinking. Reports suggest that the White House is finalizing an executive order demanding a review of the federal programs that comprise the social safety net. One can only presume that the conclusions of this review will justify major changes to the programs conservatives have derided for years as wasteful and ineffective. On the potential chopping block …read more


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