President Obama will announce a three year freeze in discretionary spending in his State of the Union on Wednesday night. If enacted, this will be utterly devastating for many organizations currently receiving services from a wide range of agencies and grant funded organizations. I think the President needs to rename his speech to "Saving the middle class at the expense of the poor, because the rich are to powerful and can derail my legacy"

I have supported Obama through out everything, from the Guantanamo Debacle and the HRC capitulation, but I will not sit quiet as this administration declares war on our most vulnerable citizens for political expediency.  Make no mistake, level funding is a death nail for many social programs serving about every population in need.

While exempting the Department of Homeland Security and the Veteran's Administration, Health and Human Services will be decimated.  While servicing a bloated defense budget with its sole purpose of enriching war profiteering companies and cause havoc across the globe.  

- Services to people with disabilities as SSA and Vocational Rehabilitation is cut further sentencing people to social isolation and economic despair

- Services to Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children cut further limiting educational equality

- Services to low income youth cut further en-flaming tensions as inner-cities grapple with youth violence and teen mothers.

- Services to the hungry by further limiting outreach efforts leaving people to fend for themselves

- Services to the homeless and those who struggle in finding affordable housing, expanding waiting list for vouchers to 8+ years

- Services to the addicted by further playing lip service to treatment efforts and not taking bold risk reduction strategies to reduce this epidemic

- Services to communities as they battle abandoned properties due to foreclosures

This isn’t fundamental change, this is George Bush’s America where the meaning of compassion is misrepresented as “shared sacrifice” and struggle is manipulated as a common virtue. No, people in need have always struggled and suffered and were led to believe that in Obama’s America they were going to receive the tools needed to rise up. “Lift you up” he said, but in essence all we see now is the heel of his shoe.

I’m done, I have been an activist for the poor for a long time and I know one constant, and that is that politicians come and go. I was a social activist during Clinton, I was one under Dubya and now under Obama, and I will also be an activist under whoever comes next.  To expect more than the last is a practice in futility, I know that doing what I can do personally is truly people centered, not some now meaningless campaign slogan. Our actions on a daily bases is far more reaching than any policy coming out of Washington so no...I will not be attending a State of the Union watch party, because obviously it is not a cause for celebration but for shared disappointment and frustration.

Update; Ok, I see that many people are more than willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt..after all Philip Klein is reporting;

(Rob)Nabors told reporters that the administration has been going through the federal budget "line by line" to make sure that Obama's domestic priorities were fully funded, while cutting other aspects of the budget that were not necessary  during lean times

But I also just received an email from a national SSA Disability activist;

The President has decided to seek a three year freeze on domestic discretionary spending. The freeze would allow increases in spending only to match increases in the cost of living. This freeze includes the Social Security Administration's operating budget. This is devastating for Social Security. The agency was dramatically underfunded during the Bush Administration and now faces rapidly increasing workloads due to the aging of the baby boom population. We can expect initial disability determinations to average adjudication times to increase from 6-12 months upwards to 12-24 months

Update II

In FY10 HHS awarded the following in Grants (although Mandatory spending included);

OPDIV     Number      #%         Dollars          $%
ACF       2,837       17.33%     $24,123,027,711  14.55%
AHRQ      90          0.55%      $692,792         0.00%  
AOA       199         1.22%      $257,218,189     0.16%
CDC       1,527       9.33%      $613,324,977     0.37%
CMS       325         1.99%      $135,968,417,181 82.01%
DHHS/OS   53          0.32%      $32,628,735      0.02%
FDA       56          0.34%      $396,014         0.00%
HRSA      960         5.86%      $1,260,021,615   0.76%
IHS       245         1.50%      $1,247,841,585   0.75%
NIH       9,557       58.38%     $1,932,687,383   1.17%
SAMHSA    522         3.19%      $359,025,092     0.22%
Total     16,371                 $165,795,281,274  

About a  third of these grants are going/went to programs which can be considered "direct service" programs. However These grants have not been increased in the President's budget for FY10, but fall substantially below FY08 & FY09, $265,284,486,231 and $364,092,575,974 respectively.  FY09 numbers may be inflated due to the stimulus, but considering that drop..to freeze the numbers at FY10 would be devastating.

Update III

Thanks Rachel, for not buying into the spin and calling it for what it is;

Originally posted to HGM MA on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:59 AM PST.

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