Bush Want to Cut the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Reuters reports that the Bush administration wants to cut a key government program designed to help low income households pay heating bills. The program is called Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and was initiated in 1981 and originally was funded at $1.86 billion for one year.

Reuters reports that two-thirds of households that receive LIHEAP assistance have annual incomes of less than $20,000, and because more people asked for help this past year, the average grant under the program fell from $451 last year to $314 this year.

To simply keep up with average inflation since the program began in 1981, with no increase in program, LIHEAP should be funded annually at $4.2 billion. The cost of energy, of course, has inflated at a rate much greater than the average rate. Reuters reports that the Energy Department is now forecasting that household expenses for all heating fuels will rise this winter, again, much more than ordinary inflation, with costs for heating oil up 22 percent from last year, propane up 16 percent, natural gas up 10 percent and residential electric bills up 4 percent.

The current rate of funding for LIHEAP is $2.16 billion, and is sufficient to cover only 16% of the 38 million households who are eligible to participate in the program. The Bush administration is advocating that this $2.16 billion current annual expenditure on LIHEAP be reduced in 2008 by about 13% to an annual expenditure of $1.78 billion.

S.W. Anderson in his web-site, Ohpinion, writes about Bush’s move to decrease the LIHEAP program and how this action shows the true face of “compassionate conservatism.”

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One Response to Bush Want to Cut the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

  1. One might think that since Bush’s family has made big money in the oil business and presumably still does; since he was in it and has done so much to advance the industry’s interests and profts as governor of Texas and now, as president, that he would be all for directing some taxpayer money to the industry by way of poor people paying their heating bills.

    The only explanations I can come up with are, 1, that Bush and the neocon ideologues in his administration don’t want the government to successfully help people in need because they don’t believe in that; and 2, Bush personally takes some kind of perverse pleasure in other people’s suffering.

    For someone who passes himself off as a born-again Christian, it’s amazing how devoid Bush’s actions and decisions are of Christian charity.

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