[Hpn] NY TIMES: Mugging the Needy

Harmony Kieding worldhome@thesociety.net
Fri, 4 Apr 2003 05:11:59 -0800

Hi Chance-

Outrageous budget cuts. Another crazy aspect of the current "Madministration",
which begs for money to go kill folks overseas.

Yesterday I had just read Bob Herbert's article myself. I then went to register
at the Forum so that I could express my opinions, and met a "surprise"- only
folks with enough money for paid email services can register and express their
views on an article concerning budget cuts for the poor and homeless.

Just now I sent off an email to the digital divide mailing list- it follows

Status:  Normal 
From:  "Harmony Kieding" <worldhome@thesociety.net>  
Date:  Fri, 4 Apr 2003 04:52:58 -0800 
Subject:  Free Email and the Digital Divide 
More and more lately I seem to be running across places on the Internet that

will not accept subscriptions or registrations from people using free email


For example, yesterday I read an article entitled "Mugging the Needy" by Bob

Herbert on the New York Times Website. 

His writing concerned deep budget cuts affecting entitlement programs. I noticed,

after reading it, that there was a Forum for airing one's views. However, when

I went to register at the Forum (which I had to do before writing my opinion)

there was a notice that no free email addresses would be accepted for registering


Let me get this straight- only people with enough money to pay for email get

to have their voices heard on matters affecting the poor? Something seems skewed

with this picture.

While I understand there may be a concern with spam and/or phony registrations,

there is another aspect here which concerns me and that is this: POOR PEOPLE

Homeless people use free email services. People with no computers of their own

use free email services. Lots of folks use, and need, free email for entirely

legitimate purposes.

The act of excluding free email users cuts off voices that need to be heard,

in my opinion. This highlights, once again, the financial divide which is one

very real aspect of the digital divide.

Harmony Kieding
Ovre Lang gate 51
Tonsberg, 3110



>April 3, 2003
>Mugging the Needy
>had wanted today's column to be about the events in Tulia, Tex., where a
>criminal justice atrocity is at long last beginning to be corrected.
>(For those who don't know, prosecutors are moving to overturn the
>convictions of everyone seized in an outlandish drug sting conducted by a
>single wacky undercover officer.)
>But there is another issue crying out for immediate attention. With the eyes

>of most Americans focused on the war, the Bush administration and its allies

>in Congress are getting close to agreeing on a set of budget policies that

>will take an awful toll on the poor, the young, the elderly, the disabled
>and others in need of assistance and support from their government.
>The budget passed by the House is particularly gruesome. It mugs the poor
>and the helpless while giving unstintingly to the rich. This blueprint for

>domestic disaster has even moderate Republicans running for cover.
>The House plan offers the well-to-do $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, while
>demanding billions of dollars in cuts from programs that provide food
>stamps, school lunches, health care for the poor and the disabled, temporary

>assistance to needy families ‹ even veterans' benefits and student loans.
>An analysis of the House budget by the Center on Budget and Policy
>Priorities found that its proposed cuts in child nutrition programs threaten

>to eliminate school lunches for 2.4 million low-income children.
>Under the House plan, Congress would be required to cut $265 billion from
>entitlement programs over 10 years. About $165 billion would come from
>programs that assist low-income Americans.
>This assault on society's weakest elements has been almost totally
>camouflaged by the war, which has an iron grip on the nation's attention.
>The House budget does not dictate the specific cuts that Congress would be

>required to make. In its analysis, the center assumed (as did the House
>Budget Committee) that the various entitlement programs would be cut by
>roughly the same percentages. If one program were to be cut by a somewhat
>smaller percentage, another would have to be cut more.
>The analysis found that in the year in which the budget sliced deepest:
>¶"The cut in Medicaid, if achieved entirely by reducing the number of
>children covered, would lead to the elimination of health coverage for 13.6

>million children."
>¶"The cut in foster care and adoption programs, if achieved by reducing the

>number of children eligible for foster care assistance payments, would lead

>to the elimination of benefits for 65,000 abused and neglected children."
>¶"The cut in the food stamp program, if achieved by lowering the maximum
>benefit, would lead to a reduction in the average benefit from an already
>lean 91 cents per meal to 84 cents."
>When's the last time one of the plutocrats in Congress waded through a meal

>that cost 84 cents?
>The Senate budget is not as egregious. It calls for a total of about $900
>billion in tax cuts, and there is no demand for cuts in entitlement
>programs. But it is not a reasonable budget. In fact, there's something
>obscene about a millionaires' club like the Senate proposing close to a
>trillion dollars in tax cuts for the rich while the country is already
>cutting social programs, running up huge budget deficits and fighting a war

>in the Middle East.
>At least in the House budget the first ‹ if not the worst ‹ of the cuts are

>in plain view. In the Senate plan the inevitable pain of the Bush budget
>policies remains concealed.
>"There is a significant human toll in the Senate budget, but it's in the
>future," said Robert Greenstein, the center's executive director. "What I
>mean is that given the deficits we're already in, you can't keep doing tax

>cuts like this ‹ you can't keep cutting your revenue base ‹ without it
>inevitably leading to sharp budget cuts."
>House and Senate conferees are now trying to resolve the differences in the

>two budget proposals. They will do all they can to minimize the public
>relations hit that is bound to come when you're handing trainloads of money

>to the rich while taking food off the tables of the poor. So you can expect

>some dismantling of the House proposal.
>But no matter what they do, the day of reckoning is not far off. The budget

>cuts are coming. In voodoo economics, the transfer of wealth is from the
>poor and the working classes to the rich. It may not be pretty, but it's the

>Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
>In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
>distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
>interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and

>educational purposes only.
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