Failing To Raise The Debt Ceiling Would Mean Disproportionate Pain For Minorities

If the United States defaults on its debt obligations and suffers a downgrade in its credit rating, people of color in particular will suffer from cuts to federal programs and benefits. Because the federal government will not have enough cash to uphold all of its obligations, it would have to “immediately discontinue vital services relied upon disproportionately by lower-income and minority households.” If the U.S. were unable to pay its bills in August and September, the Center for American Progress predicts that $14.7 billion would be slashed from “food stamps and other nutritional programs for low-income, pregnant women and children” — programs in which 37.3 percent of recipients were racial minorities in 2009. Programs for affordable housing and rent assistance would see a loss of $7.4 billion in federal funding, spelling trouble for African Americans and Hispanics, who in 2008 made up 44 percent and 23 percent of recipients respectively.

Sarah Bufkin