Rebecca Vallas Profile picture
Dec 21, 2017 21 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
LANGUAGE ALERT: Slashing Medicaid, Medicare, nutrition, housing, disability benefits, and more isn’t “welfare reform” any more giving huge tax cuts to billionaires and wealthy corporations is “tax reform.”

(Commence thread.)
1. For starters, the definition of “reform” is to make changes in order to *improve* something.

What Donald Trump and Speaker Ryan are calling for (to pay for tax cuts for billionaires and wealthy corporations) is huge cuts that will hobble essential programs.
2. Don’t take my word for it – just look at their budgets, which tell us exactly what they want to slash and how much.

For example:

☑️ $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid
☑️ $197 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance
☑️ $72 billion in cuts to Social Security disability
3. They know their Robin Hood in reverse agenda is the opposite of what the American people want.

In fact, they learned the hard way this year how unpopular cutting Medicaid is.

That’s why they’re trying to smear popular programs like Medicaid as “welfare.”
4. Calling these programs “welfare” – and calling cuts “reform” – is a carefully calculated strategy to reinforce myths about these programs and the people they help.
5. That’s also what’s behind their calls for “work requirements” – which have nothing to do with actually helping anyone work.

(Spoiler: Taking away jobless workers’ healthcare/housing/food isn’t gonna help them find work any faster.)
6. It’s about making people who turn to public programs to make ends meet into modern day welfare queens who “just don’t want to work.”
7. Ditto drug testing proposals.

(Spoiler: Low-income people actually use illegal drugs at *lower* rates than their more well-to-do counterparts.)

But hey, no better way to stigmatize people who turn to assistance than to make them all out to be “addicts.”
8. They know their best shot at cutting popular programs is to reinforce myths about who they help–when in reality it’s most of us at some point.

When wages aren’t enough.
When we lose a job.
When we can’t get enough hours at work.
When we need to care for an ill loved one.
9. The programs on the Trump-Ryan hit list are there for all of us when we fall on hard times.

CASE IN POINT: Fully 70% of Americans will turn to a means-tested assistance program to make ends meet at some point during their lives.
10. Meanwhile, by using loaded terms like “welfare,” they think they can divide us by race so we don’t notice they’re coming after the entire working and middle-class.

This is core to the Trump playbook.
11. The term “welfare” has a deeply racially charged history, evoking decades of racial stereotypes about who is poor in this country.

It's no accident that Trump and Ryan use the word every chance they get.
12. If Donald Trump and Paul Ryan really wanted to see fewer people needing to turn to public programs to make ends meet, they’d embrace raising the poverty-level minimum wage, which has remained stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.
13. In fact, raising the minimum wage just to $12/hr would save a whopping $52 billion over the next decade, just in SNAP (aka Food Stamps) – because more low-wage workers would earn enough to be able to feed their families without assistance.
14. Slashing vital programs has nothing to do with helping Trump’s “forgotten man or woman.”

If Trump & Ryan were serious about cutting poverty and promoting work, they'd be strengthening the very priorities their budgets gut – education, job training, Pell Grants, etc.
15. Nor is their slash and burn agenda about addressing the deficit the GOP claims to hate (when it serves them), but which they’re currently jacking up by a whopping $1.5 trillion to give huge tax cuts to themselves and their millionaire buddies.

16. Rather, it’s the latest chapter in their quest to funnel money upwards to themselves and their donor class—paid for on the backs of everyday Americans.

That’s why we can’t let them get away with calling this Robin Hood in reverse agenda “welfare reform.”
17. Media types, you have a critical choice to make here: repeat the GOP’s talking points, or report on what they’re really doing.

(Hint: it’s spelled C-U-T).
18. The ACA is still the law of the land and Medicaid remains intact because of the power of resistance.

But the fight isn’t over.

Now that they’ve rammed their billionaire tax cuts through Congress, our healthcare and so much is squarely in the cross hairs for 2018.
19. Join the fight and share your story of what cuts to healthcare, nutrition, housing, disability benefits, and more would mean for you and your family – at
20. RT this thread to spread the word and follow me, @mboteach @jeremyslevin @rwest817 @kfgrobbins @talkpoverty and #HandsOff in the weeks and months ahead.

None of us can afford to sit this one out.


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More from @rebeccavallas

Sep 12, 2018
Later this morning, @uscensusbureau will release its annual report on poverty for 2017.

We expect a slight downtick in the U.S. poverty rate—which is without question good news.

But if Trump tries to take credit, he deserves to be laughed out of the room.

(Here’s why.)
@uscensusbureau Any good news for struggling workers is thanks to Trump’s FAILURE to impose much of his policy agenda (AKA a how-to guide for massively increasing poverty & hardship):

- dismantling food assistance
- tripling the poorest families’ rents
- stripping jobless workers of Medicaid
@uscensusbureau In fact, analysis by my colleagues @rwest817 & @kfgrobbins found that if just *three* of Trump’s draconian cuts to programs that help families make ends meet had been in place in 2015, 2.3 MILLION more Americans would have been poor.…
Read 7 tweets
Sep 5, 2018
Literally right as House & Senate began conference on the #FarmBill this morning, @USDA released a report finding 15 MILLION American households—about 1 in 6—struggled to put food on the table at some point last year.…
Yet House Republicans, led by @ConawayTX11, are STILL pushing for massive cuts to nutrition assistance that would take food away from 2 million Americans.
These are the members of Congress who are deciding whether to maintain food assistance through SNAP—or to take food out of the mouths of hungry kids & families to pay for millionaire & corporate tax cuts👇👇👇 #handsoffSNAP #FarmBill
Read 4 tweets
Aug 4, 2018
Wow. Internal documents show Trump’s State Department knowingly lied, ignored warnings from top economic advisers & manipulated data in an attempt to discredit the recent UN report on poverty in America, per @ForeignPolicy.…
The same internal documents also indicate the UN’s report on poverty in America did indeed play a role in motivating the US’s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council earlier this summer.
The same documents show that the State Dept. chose to rely on analysis from the conservative Heritage Foundation OVER THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU—the agency whose job it is to produce and analyze the federal government’s official poverty data—in its effort to whitewash poverty.
Read 7 tweets
Jul 26, 2018
Hi friends!

Today, as we mark the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (#ADA28), let’s do one better.

Let’s stop relegating people with disabilities to a single day in the calendar.

1. One in five Americans are people with disabilities. NEWSFLASH: This makes pretty much every issue a disability issue—from health care to the economy to the environment, to criminal justice, and more.
2. But for too long the notion of “disability policy” has lived in a silo—artificially & counterproductively separate from the fight to end poverty & tackle inequality, to curb climate change, to achieve criminal justice reform, and even the fight for universal health care.
Read 13 tweets
Jul 16, 2018
Move over, climate change.

Trump’s White House just issued a sweeping denial of poverty in America.

1. In a report released late last week, Trump’s WH declared the War on Poverty “largely over and a success.” The report is literally page after page of gaslighting the very real hardship faced by tens of millions of Americans struggling to afford food, housing, healthcare & more.
2. The WH report brazenly denies that homelessness is a meaningful problem in the U.S.—erasing the plight of the over *half a million* Americans without shelter on any given night (which includes 58,000 families with children).
Read 22 tweets
Jun 28, 2018
Feeling all the emotions watching PA @GovernorTomWolf sign the #CleanSlateAct into law just now. Proud to have worked w/my mentor @SDietrich9 to develop the “clean slate” automatic sealing model (now being picked up by other states & Congress!) & @erincohan to get it done in PA.
My head is swirling with thoughts of all of my @CLSphila clients who will be freed from the life sentences to poverty they‘re currently serving once the #CleanSlateAct takes effect. Watching my friend Ronald speak at the signing about what it means to him brought me to tears. :)
Huge thanks to @GovernorTomWolf @RepDelozier @SenTonyWilliams @RepHarris @SenScottWagner for your leadership in making Pennsylvania the first state to adopt clean slate legislation—excited to see Michigan, South Carolina & Colorado already following in PA’s footsteps.
Read 5 tweets

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