– NEW JERSEY: Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) budget raised taxes on the working poor and middle-class by cutting the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and homestead rebates — yet still found money for lucrative corporate tax cuts. This year, Christie has called for $200 million in business tax cuts, while proposing to cut mental health services, cut $540 million from Medicaid, and withhold property tax rebates for seniors until public workers give up many of their health and pension benefits. Many New Jerseyans have said they prefer a tax on millionaires to Christie’s draconian cuts.
By Marie Diamond on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:00 am
Despite recent polls that show Americans are just as protective of Medicaid as they are of Medicare, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is trying to gut the popular program in his state and prevent 23,000 people from receiving benefits. Christie has proposed cutting Medicaid eligibility to absurdly low levels: from the current maximum income of $24,645 to $5,317 a year for a family of three. Apparently, the governor believes a family of three making $6,000 a year is simply too rich to receive Medicaid.
The New Jersey press has reported that the main effect of his proposal would be to slash help for the working poor, tearing a huge hole in the state’s social safety net:
Adults in a family of three that makes as little as $103 a week would earn too much to qualify for health care provided by Medicaid under a sharply curtailed program Gov. Chris Christie wants the federal government to approve this year, according to state officials and advocates briefed on the proposal.[...]
The Christie administration is expected to propose cutting the maximum income level of Medicaid from $24,645 to $5,317 a year for a family of three [...]
“That is about a third of the poverty level,” Castro said. “That means that an uninsured parent working full time at a minimum-wage job wouldn’t be eligible. … A parent who works half-time for minimum wage wouldn’t even qualify.
“Unfortunately, the only way these parents can become eligible for health coverage in the future is if the parent applies for and is eligible for welfare,” Castro added. “That sends the wrong message.”
Democratic lawmakers are furious that Christie is insisting on making $300 million in cuts on the backs of poor and disabled residents. They point out that apart from the morally bankrupt idea of denying care to the neediest population, having more people uninsured will ultimately be more costly for New Jersey.
State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D), who sponsored the legislation creating FamilyCare in 1998, explained, “This completely dismantles the progress made over the last 12 years, and then some…I can’t imagine how it could be any worse.”
Since Medicaid — which provides health care services to at-risk populations including the indigent, blind and disabled — is jointly funded by the federal government, states must apply for a waiver before making major changes. That means Obama administration officials can still block Christie’s radical attempts to curtail enrollment.
I testified twice this week about CBO’s latest projections for the economy and the budget—on Tuesday to the Senate Budget Committee, and on Wednesday to the House Budget Committee. In my prepared remarks, I told the Members that our analysis shows that the country continues to face very large economic and budget challenges.
This letter responds to concerns that the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee raised about CBO’s report Options for Taxing U.S. Multinational Corporations, which was released on January 8, 2013.
|Dear Friend,This week, President Obama laid out his policy goals for his second term in his fifth State of the Union address. For analysis on those policies, as well as the latest news of the week, don’t miss these important posts from ThinkProgress:
Igor Volsky Deputy Editor, ThinkProgress
Its been nearly a year since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old on his way back to his fathers townhouse.
A federal judge last Friday overturned HB 2800, a state law in Arizona that banned Planned Parenthood from contracting with Medicaid. From The New…
The overwhelming empirical consensus shows little if any effect of the minimum wage on employment.
The GOP’s Back to the Future Budget
Last week, the GOP once again proposed a plan to cap overall federal spending as percentage of the economy at a ridiculous and unsustainably low level. This is really just a backdoor way to gut programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid without saying so at the outset.
How low do Republicans want to set spending? As low as it was way back in 1966. In 1966, President Johnson was arguing we needed to stay in Vietnam. There were still countries called Upper Volta and Rhodesia. The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds. Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California. Medicare and Medicaid had only existed for one year.
In other words, it was a very different time and our country had very different needs. Here’s a closer look at just how different things are why the GOP’s back to the future isn’t suited for 21st century America.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed
New NRA ad envisions war between defenseless middle class and drug lords with high-capacity magazines.
What today’s meteors tell us about the budget.
The NRA plans a blizzard of lawsuits to lock in pro-gun decisions while Republicans control the courts.
Transvaginal probes are back.
Facebook paid no corporate income taxes last year, despite making more than $1 BILLION in profits.
The two biggest lies in the NRA’s top lobbyist’s response to the State of the Union.
Sen. McCain says he’s opposing Chuck Hagel because Hagel was mean to President Bush.
Raising the minimum wage: a no-lose issue for Democrats.
Rubio and the zombies.
The Best Way to Watch the State of the Union
The White House has been hard at work on the 2013 State of the Union address and when President Obama addresses the nation, we’ll broadcast an online-only enhanced version of the address with graphics, data, and useful stats that will help you go deeper — and see the information that informed the President’s policy decisions. You can watch the speech on whitehouse.gov or with the white house app on iphone, ipad and android devices. To be part of the discussion during the speech, use the hashtag #SOTU on Twitter. Immediately after the speech, we’ve asked a group of policy experts and advisors to the President to sit down for a live panel and answer your questions. Ask yours on Twitter using the hashtag #WHchat, or post it to the White House Facebook or Google + page. So tune in, Tuesday night at 9 PM Eastern and see the President’s Enhanced State of the Union Address, and learn more about the important issues facing our nation. http://whitehouse.gov/sotu
Weekly Address: Averting the Sequester and Finding a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction
President Obama urges Congress to act to avoid a series of harmful and automatic cuts — called a sequester — from going into effect that would hurt our economy and the middle class and threaten thousands of American jobs. The President urges Congress to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that makes investments in areas that help us grow and cuts what we don’t need.
In Case You Missed It
Here’s a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Common-sense Reforms: On Monday, President Obama traveled Midwest to Minneapolis to speak with local police, community leaders and folks who have experienced gun violence in their family. The President firmly believes “law enforcement and other community leaders must have a seat at the table.”
With mounting support for universal background checks, President Obama is driving Congress to listen and take action. While pressing for background checks, the President did not let up.
“We shouldn’t stop there. We should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines,” said President Obama. “And that deserves a vote in Congress — because weapons of war have no place on our streets, or in our schools, or threatening our law enforcement officers.”
Watch the full speech here and read our blog post tracking the two weeks since President Obama released his plan for reducing gun violence.
Sequester Delay: On Tuesday, President Obama talked about the sequester and urged Congress to act before automatic spending cuts are put into place starting March 1. If a new deal is not struck by March 1, automatic spending cuts, which are known as the sequester will begin.
Billions of dollars in cuts would hinder education and research, along with defense spending to name a few. President Obama called for “a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms” as he is prepared to work with republicans to strike a deal for the American people.
Newest Cabinet Nominee: On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department. If the current CEO of the outdoor retail giant REI is confirmed, she will play a critical role in protecting our country’s land and natural resources. Along with an enthusiasm for the outdoors, she carries with her experience as a former oil engineer and commercial banker, which will be vital in dealing with our energy sector and creating jobs for Americans.
Jewell is very excited to work with the Interior and “sharing their hopes and their dreams for our public lands, our resources, our people — especially our first people — our history and our culture.”
Revamped Immigration Page: On Wednesday, the White House released a new issue section laying out what is at stake for comprehensive immigration reform. The President’s proposal calls for the strengthening of our borders, cracking down on companies that hire undocumented workers, creating a path to earned citizenship and streamlining our legal immigration system.
- Sign up for the latest immigration updates from the White House.
- Find all the facts on the immigration page.
- Watch the President’s Las Vegas speech on comprehensive immigration reform.
National Prayer Breakfast: On Thursday, President Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton. Citing the importance of faith in his life, the President discussed the comfort Scripture gave President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I thought about their humility, and how we don’t seem to live that out the way we should, every day, even when we give lip service to it,” said the President.
The biggest hope from the breakfast was Americans, especially our public servants, should embrace cooperation and humility to avoid the constant bipartisan rhetoric in Washington. Watch the full speech here.
SOTU Preparation: This Tuesday, the President will speak to the country through the annual State of the Union address. President Obama will discuss the most demanding issues facing our country and offer solutions to tackle these challenges. On February 12, at 9 pm ET head to our State of the Union page to watch a live enhanced version with charts, graphs, and data to coincide with his address. Before Tuesday, check out our page to view the 2012 enhanced version and discover new ways you can participate in this year’s State of the Union.
Connect with the Campaign for a Fair SettlementThe stories we’ve been getting about how families are fighting back against Wall Street criminals trying to steal their homes are so powerful we wanted to share them with you. The Home Defenders League is collecting these stories as part of the 100 Days to Fix What Wall Street Broke campaign. You can see them here and if you or someone you know is going through something similar you can share it here. These stories help push the Obama Administration to take the steps necessary to finally hold Wall Street accountable.
–Brian, Campaign for a Fair Settlement
The Dunwell family standing up and speaking out to keep their home from being stolen by Wall Street bankers.
Jacqueline Barber. Grace Alexander. Debbie and Ron Austin. David and Yanick Dunwell.
These are four stories from the wave of foreclosures Wall Street unleashed when they broke our economy, wiped out our savings, and stole our homes. They are the real people directly affected by greedy Wall Street criminals. These are the people President Obama needs to keep in mind when he delivers his State of the Union address next Tuesday.
It’s been a year since the President announced a task force to hold banks accountable for their actions and the only thing many underwater homeowners and foreclosure victims have to show for it is a lot of press stories, a few small potatoes lawsuits, and the continuing stress of fighting to stay in their homes. It’s clear that the Administration knows the faces of Jaime Dimon at JPMorgan Chase, Brian Moynihan at Bank of America and John Stumpf at Wells Fargo a lot better than it knows those of the 14 million underwater homeowners and millions of foreclosure victims.
To help President Obama remember Wall Street’s many victims, our partners at the Home Defenders League have started to share their own stories of fighting back when bankers try to steal their homes on this website, 100 Stories of What Wall Street Broke.
“US Bank is the reason I’m no longer in remission for my cancer.” – Jacqueline Barber, Fayetteville, GA.
Jacqueline Barber, a retired Atlanta police detective and grandmother, is fighting GMAC, US Bank, and bone marrow cancer. Grace Alexander is fighting a Bank of America eviction despite evidence of fraud in her mortgage. The Austin family has been evicted by Fannie Mae, which claims they missed a payment despite a receipt proving otherwise. The Dunwell family is fighting Bank of America, which gave them a trial mortgage modification for a year but then decided to foreclose anyway – even though they had never missed a payment on the modification!
“It’s been a real humbling experience, first losing my job [in 2008 during the Great Recession], now losing my home. At times where I felt weak, I sat and heard my daughter talk about, you know, ‘These banks need to do right by us,’ and my backbone kind of just straightened up.” – David Dunwell, Springfield, MA.
There are a host of things the President can do right now -without waiting for Congress – to ease the continuing crisis in homeownership, beginning with holding accountable the Wall Street bankers who created it. They’re reporting record profits (again), while millions of us still own houses valued at less than our mortgages or are in some stage of foreclosure. Fixing the housing crisis by resetting mortgages to market value and finally forcing banks to treat our families fairly would be the best thing he could do both for us and for the nation’s economy.
That’s whyHome Defenders League members are stepping out of the shadows to tell their stories – so that the Administration can’t keep ignoring people like them and us even as Wall Street lobbyists swarm the Capitol and White House. You can see them here, at 100 Stories of What Wall Street Broke.
They aren’t alone, though, as Jacqueline, Grace, Debbie and Ron, and David and Yanick can attest. With millions of families affected, we know that you must know someone in a similar situation – it might even be you. So, they’ve set up a form so you can submit your own story as well. You can tell it here.
“We did everything right, yet our government allows these banks to steal our very homes out from under us.” – Debbie Austin, Portland OR.
We are a few weeks into the first 100 days of President Obama’s second term. Time is running out for him to take decisive action against the Wall Street criminals stealing our jobs, our savings, and our homes. Telling the stories of people directly affected by Wall Street bankers is one way we are bringing home the necessity of urgent action.Check them out here and take a moment to add yours here.
Many people have great local groups fighting alongside them: Jacqueline has Occupy Homes Atlanta, Grace has New Jersey Communities United, the Austins have We Are Oregon, the Dunwell’s have City Life/La Vida Urbana – and we also have all of you through the Campaign fighting alongside the Home Defenders League.
But we need a President to stand up for us too.
Brian Kettenring, Executive Director, Action for the Common Good and Campaign Director, Campaign for a Fair Settlement
Campaign for a Fair Settlement · 11 Dupont Cir, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20036, United States
CFS is a multi-sectoral coalition. Common Good and Action for the Common Good staff provide strategic and logistical support to the effort.