The state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program stopped taking applications for emergency assistance this week because the fund will be depleted April 21 due to cuts from the federal government. As a result, people who have received shut-off notices from their utility companies may not get the help they need to keep their service.People down on their luck and faced with possible shut off notices can thank Bush and the Republican Party. Over the past 6 years, the administration has slashed grants and funding for Medicaid, student loans, housing, job training, community development, children’s services, and other programs that help moderate-to-low income people. These cuts substantially impact state finances and force states to decide between cutting critical programs or forking out scarce state dollars to maintain them. Here in Michigan, the Republican Party chooses to cut programs that benefit our neediest citizens.
Congress slashed $22.3 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds to Michigan, Udow said. Other states suffered similar cutbacks. [...]
Gov. Jennifer Granholm and 34 other governors have appealed to President Bush to release discretionary funding that is available for the program so the state could offer energy assistance.
These cutbacks seem a little surreal to me. The Bush administration asked for and received hundreds of billions of dollars for their war based on lies, yet Americans struggling to heat their homes face possible shut off notices. Yet, surprisingly, it's not the war in Iraq that has had the biggest effect on the Federal budget and subsequent cuts in funding. It's been Bush's tax cuts, as this chart from the EPI shows:
According to their data, ending the Iraq war would cut the deficit by almost half based on Congressional Budget Office projections for 2007, but reversing the Bush tax cuts would eliminate the budget deficit altogether.
It would also help ease the minds of millions of Americans struggling to heat their homes, educate their children, etc.