Budget Watch

A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 20 F Street NW, Suite 700 , Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 507-6398, Fax (301) 498-1301, E-mail eptf@nationalcenter.org, Web http://www.nationalcenter.org/ and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118, Web http://www.sbsc.org

Issue #28 - April 26,1996 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors

Hill Watch: Update on Budgetary Issues on Capitol Hill

Battle Over Moving Transportation Funds
Off-Budget Moves to Senate

While the American Automobile Association runs an ad in Roll Call saying "thanks!" to "the 284 Members of the House of Representatives who voted for the Truth in Budgeting Act (H.R. 842)," which passed the House April 17, Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Charles Grassley (R-OK), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Mark Hatfield (R-OR) and John Chafee (R-RI) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter announcing that they "strongly oppose" H.R. 842 and "will work for its defeat if this issue comes before the Senate." H.R. 842 would take transportation trust funds off-budget. The Senators say they oppose it because "activities taken off-budget would no longer be held to budget discipline, such as budget caps which limit discretionary budget authority and outlays and pay-as-you-go rules which contain direct spending programs." Opponents of H.R. 842 consider it to be a clever attempt to raise federal transportation spending. Contact J. Brian Riley of the Senate Budget Committee at (202) 224-3023.

Forget Raising the Minimum Wage: There's a Better Way

Members of Congress concerned about the job-killing aspects of raising the minimum wage but looking for a no-down-side way to help low-income families should consider sponsoring a bill drafted by a New York investment group to help people finance additional job training and/or tuition for higher education. Human Capital Resources Inc. wants to find investors to finance 100% of a student's job training or tuition expenses in return for a fixed percentage of the student's future earnings (subject to a cap). The HCR proposal shows great promise as a means to help people stuck in low-wage jobs finance the job training they need to be eligible for better jobs, and it would require no taxpayer funds: just a minor change in the tax laws. Contact Roy Chapman or Gerard Wendelken at (212) 587-8977.

Waste Patrol: Where the government can slim down

Taxpayer Funds Used to Promote Social Security System
Student Curriculum Uses Horror Stories to Broaden
Social Security's Appeal

The Social Security Administration is distributing materials designed to indoctrinate the nation's youth on the virtues of the current social security system in an effort to broaden public support for the mandatory system. Entitled "Social Security and You," the materials consist of five lessons, a 25-minute video, fact sheets, quizzes and handouts geared to high school students -- those most likely to experience social security "sticker shock" as new entrants in the labor force. To bolster the case for Social Security as is, "Social Security and You" employs resorts to such fear-mongering tactics as describing life in America during the Great Depression -- before the Social Security system existed. Here's how the teacher's guide for "Social Security and You" describes the premise of the course's 25-minute video: "Members of a band composed of high school students saving money from part-time jobs to make a demo find the deductions from their checks to be a stumbling block. They decide to start a movement to abolish Social Security, partly as a publicity stunt... partly a serious effort to mobilize public opinion against the program. They run into personal difficulties as they find that members of their families and friends are collecting Social Security or counting on it as part of their financial planning. A stranger in a wheelchair challenges their knowledge of what Social Security is all about... A grandfather describes what it was like living during the Great Depression and the promise that the passage of the Social Security Act meant to millions of Americans... A schoolmate tells what Social Security benefits mean to her since her father died. The band members become aware that everybody has a stake in Social Security..." With their new-found enlightenment, the band members presumably lived happily ever after. "Social Security and You" also suggests that teachers conduct the following exercise: "Ask female students to stand and form groups of four and male students to form groups of three. Have one student in each group sit down... Then state that one out of four females will become severely disabled or die before reaching retirement age... Show videotape: 'Social Security: The Real Story.'" The "real story" of Social Security is that taxpayer funds are being used for political purposes.

Small Business Survival Foundation
1320 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Fax: (202)822-8118
Web http://www.sbsc.org

The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Ct NE
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398
Fax: (301) 498-1301
E-mail eptf@nationalcenter.org

Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress. Reprints are permitted provided that original source is credited.###

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