This Is What Class War Looks Like

This has been making the rounds of the nets lately. It may not seem like a womanist issue per se, but if you think about the fact that many of the programs targeted for cuts specifically benefit women and children, the point becomes clear. While such cuts are likely motivated as much by class hatred as sexism, they fall unequally on women and children and become issues that affect women, making Hathor a prime place to discuss this kind of Class War.

The chart is a beautiful illustration, but for the benefit of expanding on some currently proposed cuts, and for those whose text readers can’t read pictures out loud, here’s a breakdown of what it says.

$11.2 billion is currently spent on early childhood education. House Republicans have proposed $1.1 billion cuts for Head Start, one form of early childhood education. Compare that to $11.5 billion, which is the cost of recent tax cuts for millionaires’ estates.

$8.9 billion is spent on low income housing programs. Republicans want to cut $5.7 billion. Meanwhile, $8.9 billion is also the cost of allowing mortgage interest to be claimed as a tax deduction on vacation homes.

$7.6 billion is spent on supplemental nutrition for the poor (WIC). These programs help ensure pregnant women, babies and small children of poor families get good nutritional food. Republicans want to cut WIC by at least $747 million. At the same time, $6.7 billion is the cost of estate planning techniques used by the wealthy to avoid taxes.

$4.6 billion goes to teacher training and after school programs. The Republicans would like to cut both after school programs by $100 million and $500 million from teacher training.

$4.1 billion is spent on job training for the unemployed and new workers. Republicans want to cut this by $2 billion. $4.1 billion is the cost of tax breaks for offshore operations of US financial companies. Not to mention the outsourcing of jobs.

$2.5 billion is for the low income home energy assistance (LIHEAP) grants to poor families to help pay for their utilities. Without this low income families will do without heat and electricity and water. Unfortunately, President Obama recently cut this to $2.5 billion, after previous year’s cuts. No one is really on our side, folks. Meanwhile, $4.9 billion is the cost of extending alcohol fuel tax credits.

$2.0 billion is spent on homeless assistance grants (money to help pay rent for homeless people to get housing). So far this money seems to be safe (until the next two week spending bill). But compare it to the $2.3 billion that the tax loophole for managers of hedge funds and private equity funds costs every year.

We spend only $420 million on legal services for the poor. Thought it was more, didn’t you? Well, apparently there is very little the Legal Services Corporation is allowed to do, actually. But the Republicans think they should do it with $70 million less. They don’t seem to have a problem with allowing companies to write off punitive damages to the tune of $312 million, however.

$317 million goes to Title IX funding for family planning. This would include the $70 million for Planned Parenthood that the House was so proud of voting to cut recently. It does not include abortions – it’s for contraceptives and exams. It saves lots of money in welfare, food stamps, etc because the women who get contraceptives at places like Planned Parenthood are the ones most likely to need financial help raising children of unplanned pregnancies, to be so vulgar as to reduce children to numbers. I’m sure the $303 million in special tax breaks for the timber industry are much more important.

If we cut all the programs for the needy listed above, we could save $44 billion (toward a deficit of $1.5 trillion). The cost of one year of extending the Bush era tax cuts for the top brackets would be $42 billion.

Final word: while this chart has been going around and I saw it many places researching links, we found it first at the Daily Kos. Thanks.


  1. says

    I first saw this with a third column– the trillion dollar cost of the war in Iraq, with a note saying that huh, that money would let us have BOTH columns.

    • Gabriella says

      I’m not sure what’s worse… the two columns on their own or the fact that without IraqII, they could have afforded both columns :(

  2. Sally says

    Yes, indeed the class war affects women severely, but at bottom it is a *class* war, which means that working-class women have more in common with working-class men than they do with Hilary Clinton (or even Sarah Palin).

  3. says


    I’m always leery of this viewpoint. It’s true insofar as it goes, but whenever women start consolidating power, it seems to me men of different classes band together against us. Because while different classes are a man’s enemy, a man’s *ultimate* enemy is a woman who thinks she deserves the same rights and responsibilities as a man, so men will put aside their differences to focus on what’s really important – for example, the 1980s backlash against second wave feminism.

    • Maria says

      That, and the idea that class solidarity movements often rely on women’s bodies remaining subordinate (either in direct organizing by doing unpaid and unpraised organizational labor) or rhetorically (where class solidarity –> working class men having the same types of privilege as upper class men)

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