Whether a budget impasse forces the federal government to shut down this weekend or not, the federal spending plan for 2011 is sure to contain major cuts to social programs—cuts that will come on top of what New York State slashed in its recent budget, and that will preview what the city’s budget is likely to include later this Spring. Last week some advocates began fasting to protest the proposed reductions. Here, one youth advocate explains why she’s giving up food:
To explain the impact of all the City, State and Federal cuts on the people of Crotona in the Bronx is impossible. How can one community or one family bear cuts to education, health care, after school, youth employment, food, housing, senior programs, gardens and on and on while facing double digit unemployment rates?
The community center that I run will likely reduce our services by half over the next year and everyone I talk to in social service organizations is planning for massive reductions. It would be unconscionable under any circumstances to abdicate our civic responsibility to maintain a social safety net for those most in need. To do so while the corporations that caused the economic crisis are making record profits and our country is going into greater debt to fight an astronomically expensive war, unmasks a dark truth about our country that spans both political parties.
We have lost our moral compass and replaced the effort to promote the general welfare with the effort to fare well individually. We need a change of heart and that is why I decided to join the fast.
Last week progressive faith leaders called for Americans to join an ongoing fast to protest the immoral budget cuts being debated in Washington. While I no longer have hope in our Democratic leadership, I still have faith that we can be an ethical democracy if we would hunger and thirst for justice.