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MoveOn asks for letters to the editor opposing new Bush budget cuts

President Bush's new budget cuts billions from Medicare and education while giving a whopping $1.35 trillion tax cut aimed at the wealthy. This'll be one of the big fights of the year: can you write a letter to the editor of your local paper to frame the new budget from the beginning?
Dear MoveOn member,

On Tuesday, President Bush introduced his proposed budget for 2007. Morally speaking, it's a disaster: it cuts billions from Medicare and education while giving tax cuts to the very rich.1 It even leaves out the funds required to properly rebuild New Orleans. We called last year's budget a "reverse-Robin Hood budget"—but this one's even worse.

So what can we do about it? Well, we'll fight it like heck—because these cuts are just wrong. And as we near the 2006 election, we'll use it to explain why politicians who would rather help their rich friends than the rest of us should be turned out of office.

This will be one of our big fights this year, and it's important for us, together, to frame it from the start. Can you write a letter to the editor of your local paper this morning?

You can write and send a letter in just a few minutes through our online tool, at:

 link to www.moveon.org

The Op-Ed page is often the most read page in the newspaper, and getting a letter to the editor printed there is like getting a free advertisement for our point of view. When we've done this in the past, hundreds of letters have been published. And even if your letter isn't printed, it helps the newspaper editorial board understand where public sentiment is on this issue.

Here are the basic points you can hit in your letter. Use your own words—they're always better, and some newspapers get annoyed if you copy ours.

President Bush's budget gives to the very rich and takes from everyone else. This is the same "reverse-Robin Hood" approach Republicans took last year—only worse.

The Bush budget cuts education and Medicare while offering a whopping $1.35 trillion tax cut over the next decade that is aimed at the very wealthy.2 At a time when many folks are struggling to make ends meet, that's just not right.
The Bush budget leaves out critical funds for Hurricane Katrina recovery and rebuilding—breaking a promise the president made four months ago to "rebuild New Orleans" and the Gulf Coast.
The Bush tax cuts for the rich are a cruel insult while the rest of us are making sacrifices. We've already given billions of dollars in tax cuts to the rich in the last five years. Even Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) says, "It's time to put the tax-cut medicine back on the shelf" as we rebuild New Orleans and spend billions in Iraq, and calls it "immoral to bequeath trillions of dollars in debt to our children and grandchildren."
Congress should reject Bush's immoral budget, and if they don't, voters should fire them. It's clear that the budget is a failure. Now it's up to Congress to set things right. Republican members of Congress need to stand up to Bush on behalf of the middle-class folks whose services will be cut. And if they don't, they should be thrown out of office this November.
After a long campaign by MoveOn members and our allies, last year's budget plan dropped some of the worst cuts. Even then, many cuts were made and the vote was so close that Dick Cheney had fly back from Afghanistan to break the tie in the Senate.

This year, we've got an even better chance of stopping the cuts. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) called the cuts to health care and education "scandalous,"3 and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said she was "disappointed and even surprised" at the Medicare and Medicaid cuts.4 But we'll have to start now: most folks don't pay much attention to the national budget unless it's made clear what's on the chopping block.

Can you take a moment to write a letter to the editor today? Just go to:

 link to www.moveon.org

And thanks, as always, for your work making sure that America's priorities are in the right place.

Sincerely,

-Eli, Ben, Marika, Carrie, and the whole MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Thursday, February 9th, 2006

P.S. Here's some great background on the budget, if you want more specifics.

The National Priorities Project breaks out the budget's impact by state:
 http://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget07


The Center for American Progress' Progress Report breaks down the budget:
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1455

The New York Times has a blistering editorial against the budget:
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1456

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee compiles Republican Senators' statements against the budget:
 http://www.dscc.org/news/roundup/20060207_dontlike/

P.P.S. Here's a moving report from the folks at ACORN Hurricane Survivors' Association. 400 Katrina survivors gathered in Washington yesterday and today to protest that they and folks like them across the country were left out of the budget.

Dear friends at MoveOn.org,

Several months ago, I was a teacher with over 30 years experience and a home in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, and the flooding that followed the levee failure, I found myself far from home in Houston, with my house, my job, and the life I had known washed away.

But today, many of us facing the same situation found ourselves in a new place—Washington D.C. Over 400 members of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association got on busses in cities around the country on Tuesday and rode through the night to take part in the "ACORN Rally for Return and Rebuilding."

We came to send the Bush administration and Congress a simple message—do not forget us; keep your promise and provide the funds to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

We marched from the U.S. Capitol to the Cannon House Office Building, where Democratic members of the House of Representatives held special hearings on the post-Katrina housing crisis. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Bush administration's response "a scandal of incompetence and cronyism."

ACORN members testified about our experiences and the need for funds to rebuild the city and its public and private housing. We told them about how the ACORN Home Clean-Out Demonstration Program is saving houses in New Orleans, and asked that the federal government to support this type of effort.

ACORN also secured meetings with two senior Bush administration officials—FEMA Director R. David Paulson and Herbert Mitchell of the Small Business Administration (which has rejected most applicants for its Disaster Assistance rebuilding loans). Both officials promised to follow up on concerns we raised during the meetings—but neither would commit to the most important requests for the resources to rebuild.

Finally, we took our demands directly to the White House, where we held an early evening rally, followed by a prayer vigil featuring poems, songs, and testimony about those that were lost and the lives that were changed.

The day concluded with reception at the AFL-CIO, where we felt a welcome we have not had in a long time.

But we are not happy that we have had to come so far to make these simple demands. Like most of the other displaced people, I have worked since I was young, paid my taxes, and never asked for anything special from the government. Now, when the need is dire, the federal government has turned its back on us and refuses to live up to its responsibility. We learned today that we the people must change the laws; the system is broken so the people must change the system.

Kemberly Samuels

ACORN Katrina Survivors Association

Footnotes:

1. The Progress Report, 2/7/06, "The $2.77 Trillion Disgrace."  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1455
2. "Budget Plan Assumes Too Much, Demands Too Little," Washington Post, 2/7/06,  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1457
3. "CQ Today," 2/6/06,  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1458 (Login required)
4. "In Budget, Bush Holds Fast to a Policy of Tax Cutting," New York Times, 2/7/06,  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1459

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