As we were distracted with other forms of injustices such as the constant police brutality displayed on our African-American people or the racist comments of Sony executives, one thing slipped passed all of our attention and that was the new spending deal.
As we came close to yet another shutdown, which would’ve been the second in two years, a spending bill was passed and avoided such a fate. Unfortunately the spending deal is not an entirely friendly deal to minorities and the economically challenged.
- Pell Grant recipients will see a 300 million dollar deduction in funding, better yet it will see a drop of maximum funding go from $5,730 in the 2014-2015 school year to $4,860 in the 2015-2016 school year per student. The Pell grant is a grant established for college students who remain at an economic disadvantage to attend college. This funding is used by two-thirds of the African-American student population. With the current status of raising tuitions and decreases in funding, one must question the governments status of “making college affordable” with these measures. Further more the current status of many HBCU’s decreases in enrollment due to financial inabilities of students, one can speculate the systematic removal of HBCU and those students it represents, which is catered to many economically underprivileged students across the country. To play conspiracy theorist for a brief sentence, the decrease in funding for poor students who majority happen to be African-American students creates the idea that only the economically wealthy should be able to afford college and that we must keep the poor unable to pay for learning beyond a certain extent for dependency measures.
- Women’s, Infants, and Children’s funding will see a decrease in funding of about 93 million dollars. This is a program that is compromised of almost 25% of African-Americans. Again in an agenda where the government promotes “prevent hungry families” this is a counterproductive measure.
- In a move that goes against the power of voting and democracy, the spending deal also does not contribute any federal funding for the decriminalization of marijuana, a voter-backed decriminalization. Even worse, since the decriminalization was voted for in Washington D.C. , city funds are also controlled by the federal government and city funding will not be utilized in its decriminalization as well. This move is extremely vital because majority of those incarcerated, predominately African-americans, are in for simple possession of this substance. The decriminalization of marijuana provides less court proceedings and incarceration of African americans currently with marijuana possessions and future possessions, freeing up tax payer dollars for these expenses. However congress has been fighting to keep this measure off the books and have just succeeded for at least the next year.
As a bonus, in a measure that is entirely unrelated to budget and fiscal spending, also tucked into the measures was the increases in political donations from the rich to give in campaigns. This measure is also crucial in the pushing of rich-backed legislation.
For the last two years, Congress has repeatedly used the excuse that their backs were against the wall of a shutdown and caused the bill to be direly pushed through because of the circumstances, despite how harmful it can be to some people, in particularly the less fortunate. That is simple not the case when spending bill deadlines are made aware of when spending bills are drafted, and so the awareness is made well before the new bills are drafted.
I want everyone to understand however that I have not read the entire 1,603 page spending bill and I implore everyone to take a look at these measures, but these are measures that I was able to pull out that I found very crucial to the African-American livelihood.
As we begin to explore what is going on in this country, I think its important to understand the need not to just vote, but who are you voting for and it should not be determined by political affiliation. Also investment in political donation is noteworthy.