Letter: Republicans fall short on logic, compassion
To the Editor:
Two related things are rising in our country right now: 1) our national deficit, and 2) insecurity among the millions of disabled Americans.
The first is being used by Republicans as a justification for causing the second. Why is a natural question. Our deficit is undoubtedly skyrocketing. In February we ran the largest budget deficit in American history. We are on track to have a $1 trillion deficit in fiscal 2019.
Did disabled Americans cause — or even appreciably contribute to — this problem? No. Despite administration promises that the 2017 tax cuts would pay for themselves, tax revenue fell when the cuts took effect even though we are in a time of relatively strong economic growth. Now the Republicans would like the disabled, a group not particularly affluent but fairly vulnerable, to help pay for the cuts that benefited primarily those who are, indeed, quite affluent and not at all vulnerable.
Although the well publicized effort to strip away millions from the Special Olympics was abandoned after the ensuing ruckus, efforts to strip essential resources to help the disabled live continue. In April Tom Ridge, chairman of the National Organization on Disability, said in the New York Times, "Most Americans do not know that the 2020 budget is still full of cuts that aim directly at many other programs that support people with disabilities .[including] Independent living centers, assistive-technology programs, supports for [those] living with brain injuries and family caregiver support services."
Also on the chopping block: the Office of Disability Employment Policy, which "promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities." Ridge thinks this would be both unjust and fiscally foolish. I agree. Sacrificing the disabled to save a few million dollars from a budget deficit of billions is indeed fiscally stupid. It demonstrates a clear impairment of logic and compassion on the part of those pushing that policy, which will only exacerbate the high unemployment we experience and add to our isolation and disenfranchisement. We need a leg up, not a leg amputated.
I am now blind. I worked throughout my life as my vision decreased and will attempt to work until I take my last breath. It would be wonderful, and fiscally responsible, if the government made that easier, not harder, for me to do.
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