Latinos Support the President’s Plan to Invest in the Future

By Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor and Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Photo: The White House

We commend President Obama’s agenda proposed in his State of the Union address. He talked about increasing investments in education, infrastructure, and workforce development. These are all investments in the future that are critical to our country’s long-term prosperity. One realistic way to help pay for these includes closing tax loopholes that benefit the top 2% and wealthy corporations, which President Obama also emphasized in his address.

We are particularly pleased with the president’s bold commitment to guarantee that every child in this country is afforded the opportunity to receive a quality education starting in preschool, which is perhaps one of the most critical investments with the potential to advance our children and our community. In addition, we are heartened to hear the president talk about raising the minimum wage. Latino workers are more likely to be working at low wages; increasing the federal minimum wage would mean higher pay for millions of working families. And we are glad to hear that he is prioritizing strengthening the housing market; the president recognizes that Latino families are missing out on affordable home prices, even though they have solid credit.

We support President Obama’s call to stop the irrational, arbitrary, and harmful budget cuts that are scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013. Working families have already paid by taking $1.5 trillion in spending cuts in 2011 and 2012. If Congress insists on more deficit reduction this year, they should do it by closing tax loopholes that benefit the top 2% and wealthy corporations, not by further cutting federal programs that are crucial for Latino children and working families.

Cutting programs in education, job training, and child care will put the middle class even further out of reach for Latino families. Hispanics understand that cutting federal programs that invest in children and working families will only lead to further job losses and undermine the future prosperity of our nation.

We reject lawmakers’ attempts to use the manufactured budget deadline on March 1 to frighten the public into accepting even more cuts to programs that hardworking families depend on:

  • We should not kick 70,000 kids out of Head Start preschools in order to keep tax loopholes that mainly benefit corporations and the rich.
  • We should not take away nutrition support from 600,000 poor pregnant women and their babies in order to keep tax breaks for profitable corporations.
  • We should not take away 270,000 job training slots because corporations and the rich have spent millions of dollars lobbying to keep their special-interest tax loopholes.

We are concerned that the president will support rapid deficit reduction and hurt the health of our economy. Too much deficit reduction too soon—such as the automatic cuts scheduled for March 1—will harm our fragile economy. The looming automatic cuts will reduce job creation by 660,000 this year according to the Economic Policy Institute. We already saw the economy stall late last year due to scheduled budget cuts.

We need to be smart about the budget challenges that our nation faces, but it is wrong to ask working families to sacrifice health care, education, and their children’s well-being to give tax breaks to people and corporations who don’t need them. We urge our congressional leaders to listen to President Obama and act to create a rational budget plan that grows the economy, invests in the future, protects vulnerable people and working families, and reduces the deficit fairly over time. To join NCLR’s federal budget campaign, text BUDGET to 62571 or join the NCLR Action Network.

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