By Efrain Nieves and Victoria Cepeda
We unite to the voices clamoring for a reduction of spending to enable our country to get back on the right track. That is an honest sentiment. However, when the road to that stability crosses path with fairness it becomes hard to swallow. VotoLatino recently shared an article, originally published by Bloomberg, that lists the services greatly impacted by the approved budget cuts. One of the groups mostly affected are the poor out of which Latinos account a large percentage of.
Some of the approved budget cuts are:
1. $500 million from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) low-income food program (35% of beneficiaries are Latinos). – some would argue that if people choose to have children that they should be able to absorb the costs associated with raising an infant. A valid point yet unrealistic approach especially when confronted with a catch 22, as per point #5 below. Abstinence initiatives alone are simply not effective.
2. $3.5 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which would award states who enroll the most uninsured children.1 in 5 Latino children are uninsured.
3. $600 million cut from community health centers (39% of Latinos are uninsured).
4. $2.2 billion from the new COOPS program, which allows community health organizations to come together to create health care cooperatives, leading to lower costs.
5. $17 million in Title X family planning and reproductive health services (23% of beneficiaries are Latino).
6. $1 billion for HIV prevention (Latinos account for 20% of all new HIV diagnoses).
7. $1.6 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a 16% decrease, including $49 million cut from climate change programs.
8. $438 million to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
9. $500 million in Pell Grants, preventing year-round funding (1 million Latinos benefit from college Pell Grants)
10. $317 million from literacy programs including Striving Readers and Even Start (39% of Latino adults have less than basic literacy levels).
11. $2 billion from Public Housing and Community Development programs (30% of Latinos are low income).
12. $200 million in aid to Puerto Rico, which does not even receive political representation in the House or Senate.
13. $23 million for the Americorps community volunteer program.
14. $75 million in Election Assistance Grants to improve election practices.
The biggest budget cuts in history are coinciding with our increase in population in the US. Its impact on Latinos too severe to ignore. Is it just another tactic to deny us an upward movement? Yes, perhaps this is a far fetched theory but not without foundation given the current anti-Hispanic/Latino sentiment sweeping the nation.
To our political leaders, please help us get our children the right funding they need for healthcare, education and safer living standards. To our young adults, remember that you account for the largest numbers in states like Texas, and most of the country. Vote, vote and vote.
To all, let us be the voice de nuestra gente noble y trabajadora.
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