News Release



Ferguson is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute. He just wrote the piece “Obama’s Budget Speaks to Wall Street, Ignores Voters” for New Deal 2.0.

Gray is author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics and a regular contributor to The Progressive magazine and CounterPunch. He said today: “The proposed $4 trillion budget targets cutting ‘non-defense discretionary spending,’ or programs that benefit low-income Americans, which makes up less than one-quarter of the overall budget.

“An earlier deal was struck to extend the Bush tax cuts for just two years, which increased the deficit by $858 billion. More than $500 billion of that deal constituted tax cuts, with billions more funding business tax breaks and a reduction in the estate tax. Roughly $56 billion went to reauthorize emergency unemployment benefits.

“So, less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, Obama proposes a budget that attacks programs that help the working poor and the most needy heat their homes, expand their access to graduate-level education, put their kids in Head Start, [and fund] summer jobs for youth, career development, after-school programs, child care, GED programs, affordable housing through cuts in Section 8 vouchers and public housing assistance, homelessness prevention, housing court advocacy, food pantries, access to tax credits, senior programs and more.”

Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project. She said today that military spending, “which accounts for roughly 58 percent of discretionary spending and 20 percent of total federal spending (both based on FY 2011 estimates), will continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years. The administration proposes funding reductions of $78 billion over the next five years within the Department of Defense. The $553 billion base-line Department of Defense request is approximately 3 percent higher than current funding levels. This figure does not include funding for nuclear weapons or $117.6 billion for the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167