Earlier this week, Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled a sweeping plan to save the rich from paying taxes and kicking the rest of us in the gut by decimating vital programs and services. The richest few would enjoy a tax cut at the expense of schools, highways, Medicare, and a broad array of safety net programs supporting low income workers and their families.
On the same day, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) -- a group that oddly claims to like immigrants but not immigration -- released a report asserting that immigrant working families use safety net programs for which they are eligible. CIS uses this to justify prohibiting less educated, low wage workers from immigrating to this country -- a rather harsh and extreme solution given the importance of immigrants to the United States's history, culture, and economy.
Both the Ryan and CIS proposals use faulty logic, fuzzy math and a mean spirit to advance radical policy agendas. These two plans contend that government spending on human resources is wasteful. Their concern is for "future generations," not the children in our country who currently face hunger, homelessness and lack of health care. Theirs is a curious calculus that refuses to recognize that expenditures relating to the health and well-being of our children -- native born or immigrant -- today is the single best investment we can make for the future security of our nation.
Some of our policymakers understand the importance of these investments, and they are heeding a call from faith leaders and advocates fighting poverty to join a fast highlighting the hunger and hardship threatened by these proposals.
We must acknowledge that the reason working families need safety net programs is that they're shamefully underpaid. Until all our policymakers have the good sense to require living wages and benefits, these programs must continue. We must not let the rich get richer at the expense of working families.