Washington, D.C. — Days before the 10-year anniversary of the Bush tax cuts, the Half in Ten campaign and the Coalition on Human Needs today released an interactive map documenting written and recorded testimonies of Americans who have been personally affected by programs now on the chopping block in the deficit-reduction debate.
The map, entitled “Road to Shared Prosperity,” pairs personal stories that highlight the ways in which federal programs successfully build shared prosperity for all Americans with data that describe each state’s economic and social situation. It is designed to serve as a resource for journalists looking for personal testimonies and sources about how budget cuts would impact the millions of Americans who have benefitted from these programs.
“Until now, many proposals to reduce the deficit have been impersonal, focusing on top-level numbers or spending caps that can mask the real-life consequences of cuts to low-income programs,” said Melissa Boteach, Manager of Half in Ten: the campaign to cut U.S. poverty in half in 10 years. “But these cuts are very personal to the families and communities they affect. And as we approach the 10-year anniversary of the Bush tax cuts, it is important to recognize that we do have a choice in how we cut our nation’s deficits.”
Polls show that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the American public is concerned that the GOP deficit plan will take away needed protections for the poor and the disadvantaged and will “protect the rich at the expense of everyone else.”
“These personal stories put a human face on the choice of the GOP plan to achieve two-thirds of spending cuts from programs helping low-income Americans. They show the damaging consequences of rigid budget caps that would shrink domestic programs promoting shared prosperity while doing nothing to raise revenues from millionaires and corporations,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs.
Stories in the map speak to the value of federal programs like Pell Grants, housing vouchers, and WIC, and what cuts would mean for the families, businesses, or communities they serve. Each story is paired with state-by-state data on poverty, hunger, education, wages, state budgets, and unemployment to show that this is about more than just one person’s struggle. This map reveals systemic issues that will persist unchecked without vital federal programs to address them.
“These are the stories of people striving to achieve the American Dream,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a Half in Ten partner. “They didn’t make the cavalier choices that turned our budget surpluses into budget deficits, and they shouldn’t have to bear the heaviest burden of those choices. Fairness and common sense demand that we address the deficit in a way that protects the most vulnerable Americans while also ensuring that there is enough revenue to sustain our country’s recovery and invest in the future.”
“It is our hope that as members of Congress consider deficit-reduction proposals, they will listen to the voices of their constituents and the personal testimonies that speak to the value of public services for American families,” Weinstein said.
Click here to browse the map for stories and data, searchable by state or by program area.
Click here to see a list of top stories on housing for veterans, Head Start, WIC, and much more.
To listen to today’s press call, click here.