All around the country, right-wing legislators are asking Main Street Americans to pay for budget deficits resulting mainly from a recession caused by Wall Street by attacking collective bargaining, and cutting necessary services and investments like college tuition aid and health care for the poor.
On Sunday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) appeared on Fox News to defend the House Republicans’ H.R. 1, an appropriations bill that would cut tens of billions of dollars of services for middle class and poor Americans while doing nothing to ask more from the wealthy.
At one point during her debate with Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) over the bill, Blackburn claimed that the current level of government spending is “economic child abuse” and that’s why we need to pass H.R. 1:
BLACKBURN: We cannot continue this out of control spending. It is basically economic child abuse. It is capping our children’s future and trading it to the countries like China that own our debt. The American people have said that enough is enough.
It is ironic that Blackburn invokes child abuse to criticize those who are opposed to H.R. 1, since the bill has deep cuts to several programs that serve children in the United States and abroad, assisting their health, development, and overall well-being. Here are just a few examples:
- The Bill Would Kick More Than 200,000 Kids Out Of Preschool: H.R. 1 features billions of dollars of cuts to the Head Start program, which would end access to the program to an estimated 218,000 children.
- The Bill Would Boot 150,000 Kids Out Of Childcare: The bill “cuts the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $39 million, leaving 150,000 children with no place to go. More women will have to choose between working and supporting their families or providing childcare.”
- The Bill Would Lead To The Deaths Of More Than 70,000 Kids Globally: As USAID administrator Rajiv Shah notes that his agency estimates that 70,000 kids globally would die when they are unable to receive malaria treatment and other supports they need to survive due to the bill’s cuts in foreign aid and development.
It is completely legitimate for Blackburn to have concerns about U.S. debt. It is, however, highly cynical to be feigning concern for children in order to advocate reducing the debt in a way that would harm children.