Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bush Budget Starves Vital Programs While Embracing Wasteful Spending


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.


chris wilcox said...

If this budget passes conservatives, liberals and moderates should unite to vote every member of Congress who votes aye out of office. For all of the reasons liberals will hate this budget moderates should understand the pain they will feel in higher out of pocket costs to overcome the domestic spending and fiscal conservatives? They should be screaming loudest of all. And yet I have a feeling the latter group will be the most silent of all.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Chris, thanks for stopping by.

>>>should unite to vote every
>>> member of Congress who votes
>>> aye out of office.

Yes, absolutely!

One other note. As massive as the military budget is, the REAL military budget is actually grossly understated. As Slate points out the real military budget is $713.1 billion, a staggering figure and EVEN THAT doesn't include the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Anonymous said...

What difference do cuts in Medicare and Medicaid make now? There is already enough money in the Medicare Part A Trust Fund to run the operation until 2019. Once Hillary takes the White House, Medicare and Medicaid will be replaced by a single payer system, and they will no longer exist. Give him the cuts. In a year health care will be free for everyone, not just the lower class.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for stopping by.
>>>Once Hillary takes the White
>>>House, Medicare and Medicaid
>>>will be replaced by a single
>>>payer system, and they will no
>>>longer exist.

I'm afraid you're assuming an awful lot here. I'm not sure Hillary will even get to the White House. In fact, I'm not convinced that the Dems will even win the election. (Well, they'll get the most votes; whether or not they'll return to the White House is a different matter). The fact is, our nation's election system is broken, unreliable and not trustworthy.

On top of that, even if Hillary does enter the White House, what makes you think America will get a single-payer health care system? Hillary has not even proposed such a system. Even back in the early 90s, the idea of a single-payer system was rejected early in the process of the health-care
debate then.

I'm not sure what Hillary's system will be like, but it's a safe bet that in the corrupt world of Washington D.C., by the time the business lobbyists get through with her proposal, it'll be a system that benefits corporate America more than the rest of us (and will be deliberately so complex and unfathomable
to ordinary people that ordinary Americans won't be able to spot the generous corporate welfare tucked away within).

By the way, I'm not faulting Hillary on this so much as I'm faulting the current, corrupt, lobbyist-driven political system that rules in Washington. The money-corrupted system is at fault, not individual politicians.

Zena said...

Bush really is trying to destroy our country's people and attempting to trigger a civil war, isn't he? Not to mention making us vulnerable to vulture nations.