March 17, 2011
In December, Heritage’s Director for Policy Innovation Stuart Butler was invited to give remarks at the leading think tank of the American Left, the Brookings Institution. The topic of debate was “Should the Disadvantaged Be Spared from the Budget Axe?” Dr. Butler was invited to rebut the panel’s preestablished assertions that any budget cuts would hurt the poor. Up to the challenge, Butler, as the lone conservative on the panel, addressed the different ways that budget cuts would actually help poor Americans. As research has shown, the policies of the Left have actually done more harm than good to the America’s poor.
While Butler noted the importance of protecting the poor from budget cuts on programs that are helpful, he also urged Congress to take an accurate accounting of which programs work, and which deserve to be cut.
Talk of shielding things from scrutiny in these tough budget times is what’s wrong with this discussion. It shouldn’t be an issue of shielding items from the budget discussion. We should instead be asking of all programs, not just those for the poor, “What is the objective that we’re trying to achieve, and is the program doing it effectively?”