“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

PTS Action Alert: Bush Administration Attempts to Demolish Road to Middle Class

On January 20, 2005, as Bush-supporters and unwitting taxpayers alike spent over $40 million dollars on parades and balls to celebrate Inauguration Day, Dr. Arnold Mitchum, President of the nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education, quietly sent a letter to his professional colleagues across the country. The letter received far less sound and fury than the inauguration, but it involved an issue that will also reach far into the future.

Mitchum's letter discussed the role that Talent Search and Upward Bound (TRiO) programs would play as legislators debate the future of the American public educational system. These programs identify and help students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in college, including first generation students (high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree).

These programs-- which have provided assistance for generations to students struggling to join the middle class-- are now quietly being targeted for elimination. White House officials have confirmed that the February 7 budget will propose to end Talent Search and Upward Bound programs by May of 2006. These cuts will total $460 million.

This amount is less than three-tenths of one percent of the cost to date of the Iraq War. It's about a dollar and a half a year from each American. Or it's about ten days of partying at the pace established in the Inaugural. In a larger sense, these cuts are a part of the Bush Administration's efforts to create larger class divisions. The elimination of New Deal and Great Society programs will eliminate the middle class. The elimination of TRiO programs will not receive as much media attention as the debates over Social Security, but they are also crucial.