By MARC MCDONALD
George W. Bush proposed a record $3.1 trillion budget on Monday that manages to accomplish two astonishing feats. Not only does his budget produce an eyepopping $410 billion federal deficit (double that of 2007) but it ALSO manages to gut popular domestic programs, ranging from Medicare to clean water grants to homeland security to education spending.
And while important domestic programs are slashed, Bush still finds room in his budget for $70 billion for the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that figure, as titanic as it is, is a ridiculously low-ball estimate of the real costs that Bush's wars will require in the future, something that even White House aides acknowledge.
There are lots of losers under Bush's budget proposal---and you can bet that none of them are America's rich and powerful. Bush's budget slashes funding for programs for low-income seniors, clean water grants, homeland security grants and poor pregnant women and their children. Education spending also gets cut, by $4 billion.
The winners in Bush's budget are (as always) the rich, as well as corporations. The reckless tax cuts for the rich remain in place (even as the nation's deficits soar into the stratosphere). And the budget continues to provide billions in corporate welfare, disguised in the form of "military spending." The budget raises military spending to inflation-adjusted levels not seen since World War II.
In fact, as NPR pointed out: "If you add up all projected defense-related spending for fiscal 2009 and $515 billion balloons to $750 billion — almost a third of all U.S. federal spending today."
Don't get me wrong: I agree that responsible defense spending is important. But that's something we simply haven't seen under this administration. Remember the $21 billion in cash that the Pentagon managed to lose without a trace in Iraq in 2003?
And this budget does nothing to reign in the corporate welfare in the form of Bush's Medicare Part D program, which has been a cash bonanza for drug corporations. (No surprise there: Bush allowed business lobbyists to create this program, which forbids the federal government from negotiating prices of drugs with the drug companies).
On Monday, Democrats slammed the Bush proposal and promised changes. But it remains to be seen whether the Dems will stand up to Bush for a change. This is something we have yet to see from the gutless and cowardly Dems.