Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 18, 2010

CANTOR'S YOUCUT TARGETS TANF EMERGENCY FUND.... Last week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) launched the latest in a series of gimmicks. The new one is called "YouCut," and the idea is pretty straightforward -- Republicans pick government programs they don't like, and then encourage the public to vote on which one they want to see eliminated. Then, GOP lawmakers try to cut the funding.

The idea was widely mocked by people like, well, me. Regardless, a week later, the initial round of voting is complete, and Republicans know what they want to slash first.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) announced Tuesday that a $2.5 billion welfare program will be the first project marked for elimination through the House Republican YouCut initiative.

The welfare emergency fund won the first YouCut poll with 29.07 percent of the online vote, edging out four other government programs that Republicans identified as "wasteful."

At issue is the welfare emergency fund, included in last year's Recovery Act. It carried a $5 billion price tag, half of which has already been spent. Here's the way Cantor's office characterized the emergency fund to YouCut voters:

The program was recently created to incentivize states to increase their welfare caseloads without requiring able-bodied adults to work, get job training, or otherwise prepare to move off of taxpayer assistance. Reforming the welfare program was one of the great achievements of the mid 1990s, saving taxpayers billions of dollars and ending the cycle of dependency on welfare. This new program, created in 2009 is a backdoor way to undo those reforms.

The problem, not surprisingly, is that Cantor doesn't seem to understand the program he now wants to cut. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained today that this so-called "wasteful" program will actually enable states to place 186,000 unemployed individuals in subsidized jobs by the end of the summer. The notion that it "incentivizes states to increase their welfare caseloads" is simply wrong.

But like most Republican gimmicks, this has nothing to do with what's real, and everything to do with what Cantor and his cohorts can get people to believe.

Steve Benen 3:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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it's a half-step for these sociopaths to go from "needless programs" to "needless humans"

all built on lies, fear, and hate...

Posted by: neill on May 18, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

We're dealing with a much more extreme proposal here in liberal California, where Gov Schwarzenneger wants to eliminate the entire welfare (CalWORKs-California's TANF) program.

I kind of hope his bluff is called and the Republicans are forced to vote on his proposal. Both of the GOP gubernatorial candidates, even while trying to out-conservative each other, have backed off of the proposal. They want the cheap symbolism of being tough on welfare without dealing with the real-world consequences. Maybe it's time to expose the heartless hypocrisy.

Posted by: danimal on May 18, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Eric Cantor is a bigoted sleeze bucket. I bet he grins all the way through his face shaving each morning. That guy is as nauseating at so many levels it's hard to imagine him as anything but a GOP lemming unable to be empathetic to any thing or anyone including stay dogs...

Posted by: stevio on May 18, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

In the words of Frank Luntz, "It is not what you say, it is what people hear."

Posted by: SadOldVet on May 18, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

"But like most Republican gimmicks, this has nothing to do with what's real, and everything to do with what Cantor and his cohorts can get people to believe."

And it's popular because, well, we all know what a welfare recipient looks like, don't we? (At least in the eyes of those voting). I wonder what the other 4 choices were: 2.5 billion isn't much money for a national program. Politicians like these symbolic maneuvers that breed group identity by pointing a finger at an "out group".

National Endowment of the Arts, flag-burning, welfare, midnight basketball. We know the drill.

We're not innocent over it either: Democrats play along with the hyperventilation over Iran and/or terrorism, for instance.

Posted by: flubber on May 18, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

and 2.5 billion as opposed, hmmm let's say, to 400 billion that it cost the government for Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy ?

Posted by: stormskies on May 18, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Cantor *is* the genius who decided that Arlington is "outside the Beltway." And he's from Virginia.

Apparently, he's a little short on focus and awareness of his surroundings. Must be scary driving with him.

Posted by: Jon on May 18, 2010 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, there is no push back and no consequence to this sociopathic behavior. He is saying to cut people's financial support off because he and his ilk find them to be unworthy of compassion and assistance. I'm sure he also fully supports the Israeli murders of Gazans and the U.S. support of that murder. Why not cut them off and let the Jews fund their own holocaust? Aren't all Jews filthy rich? /snark/ How many billions do we send to Israel every year?
I'm sure there will be plenty of money for private prisons, as that is where the welfare queens and kings will end up, once their financial "bailout" is removed. Oh, that they were eligible for Wealthcare, like the Banksters.
Perhaps in another reality where compassion reigns.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on May 18, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what percentage of voters would be in favor of MY suggestion: Eliminate all payments (Pensions, healthcare, etc) to congress members after they leave office.

-Betcha it's more than 1.5 billion dollars. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ooh! Ooh! St John, what a great idea! I'll bet cantor and holy joe would back that one. Where can we vote?

Posted by: buddym on May 18, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor is a total slime bucket and I'm willing to bet that wasn't a TRUE vote. Don't forget he's from the state that doesn't recognize gays or poor people. Ick!!!!

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 18, 2010 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

how about farm subsidies and corporate welfare? I was going to vote to cut those but they weren't on the list.

Posted by: gus on May 18, 2010 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I say we go with DAYs idea. Get those freeloaders, oh I mean public servants off the public dime once they become lobbyists.

Posted by: scoobiejim on May 18, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Could we cut any and all Federal funding to the 7th Congressional District of Virginia?

Posted by: berttheclock on May 18, 2010 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

There is no evidence anywhere that Cantor understands anything at all except how to con the voters.

Posted by: mishanti on May 18, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

$5 billion? That's nothing compared to the cost of our little adventure in Iraq. Why don't we cut that?

Posted by: josef on May 18, 2010 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: GREYDOG on May 19, 2010 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

29%. Anything that gets to be cut should have to get at least 60%. If it's good enough for the Senate, why not for YouCut???

Posted by: Rachel on May 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK



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