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  • Organizing for Action Uses Discredited Information on Sequestration

    Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

    President Obama’s campaign organization is using discredited information and misleading numbers in its latest effort to lobby Congress to stop sequestration.

    An email sent today by Jim Messina, chairman of Organizing for Action, urges supporters to sign a petition in support of Obama’s tax hikes. The email includes the typical class-warfare rhetoric Americans have come to expect from Obama — Republicans “don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets,” it claims. (Full text of email below.)

    Among the consequences, according to Messina, if Republicans fail to raise taxes,:

    On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.

    As reporters and scholars at Heritage have noted, however, Obama and his allies are misleading the country on sequestration’s impact.

    Let’s start with those 10,000 teaching jobs. As my colleagues at Heritage have documented, any assertion that cuts to the education budget would result in a loss of jobs is incorrect. “No federal education program operated by the Department of Education directly funds teacher salaries—this is a state and local responsibility,” wrote T. Elliot Gaiser and Jason Lloyd.

    The Washington Post weighed in Wednesday to call out Education Secretary Arne Duncan: “Teacher pink slips claim by Duncan not backed by evidence.” The story revealed that when Duncan was pressed to name any example, he named just one school district — and even it had nothing to do sequestration.

    Head Start, meanwhile, is a program Obama’s own Administration has admitted isn’t working. The program had “little to no effect on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes” for participating children that reach the third grade,” according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

    Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at Heritage, suggests it would be better if Congress ended Head Start, or at the very least, “allow[ed] states to make their Head Start dollars portable, following children to a private preschool provider of choice.”

    Heritage experts are reviewing other alleged consequences of sequestration. Among the issues we’ve already covered:

    Here’s the text of the Organizing for America email (petition links removed):

    Rob –

    Brace yourself.

    If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.

    It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.

    The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.

    So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.

    This has very real consequences.

    On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.

    President Obama has put forth a balanced deficit reduction plan with smart spending cuts that protect the critical investments needed to strengthen middle-class families and our economy.

    We need to send a strong signal about where Americans stand on this issue.

    Thanks,

    Messina

    Jim Messina
    Chair
    Organizing for Action

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

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