President Bush wants to spend $50 million for Helping America’s Youth, his wife’s new project to help children who are at risk of delinquency or joining gangs. USA Today reports that Bush would cut $4.2 billion from youth and crime-prevention programs with similar aims. Most of the reductions would eliminate programs that are not getting results and shift the money to programs that work, asserts the White House Office of Management and Budget. Those the White House considers effective are slated for a $1.3 billion increase. Overall, Bush proposes to cut federal funding for youth and crime-prevention programs by 5 percent.
When a program is supported by religious and other community groups, “you get a lot for your money, because these groups have hundreds of volunteers who don’t show up on balance sheets,” says Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, who helped create Helping America’s Youth. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who chairs the justice subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, says, “There are some things that can be cut and will be cut, and there are some things that can’t be cut. And you can’t cut programs that deal with gangs and education.”