February 07, 2007


Caption: The Bush administration has its priorities backwards once again.

Here we go again! President Bush recently submitted his proposed federal budget to Congress.

Here's the non-surprise of the year...it contains more tax breaks for the wealthy and program cuts for just about everyone else.

Oh yeah, and lots of money for the unnecessary war in Iraq.

Here's a preliminary analysis from Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A sample:

In a sign of the President’s misguided priorities, his budget puts extremely large tax cuts for the most affluent Americans ahead of the needs of low- and middle-income families as well as future generations. Low- and middle-income Americans would be hit by budget cuts in areas from education to protection of the environment and assistance to the poor. Future generations would foot the bill for the much larger long-term deficits that the President’s extravagant tax cuts would produce. The tax cuts in the budget far exceed proposed reductions in domestic programs.

Among programs targeted for cuts are the Children's Health Insurance Program, low income home energy assistance, child care assistance for low income working families, Head Start, food programs for low income elderly Americans. Cuts are also proposed for mandatory programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Tax cuts for the wealthy would be made permanent, adding between $2.3 to $3.5 trillion in costs over the next ten years. Needless to say, all this would increase the nation's growing inequality and the national debt.

As the Charleston Gazette noted about the war budget:
The White House plan would pump another $100 billion into the Iraq and Afghan wars this year, plus $145 billion more next year. The Pentagon budget would leap to $625 billion a year — perhaps exceeding the warmaking expenditures of all other nations on Earth, combined.

CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE. The Bush budget won't be received with many cartwheels in Congress, where the new majority will face some difficult decisions. As the New York Times
put it yesterday,

...Democrats know that the only way they can find the revenue to restore the administration’s proposed spending cuts would be to cut back on military spending, delay their stated intentions to balance the budget or rescind the Bush tax cuts in future years. They are not especially eager to do any of these.

The most likely result, even some Democrats acknowledge, will be a limited reshaping of the budget by restoring some proposed cuts in a variety of domestic programs, including children’s health care, Head Start and home heating assistance for the poor and the elderly.

I hope they'll do better than that. In any case, advocates of working people, the elderly, and children will have another budget battle in the days ahead.

RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE DAY: If you ever get really bored, try this. Watch infomercials on TV. It doesn't matter what they're for--exercise gear, cleaning materials, cookware, health gimmicks. Then call the toll-free number and ask whoever answers stupid questions about the product, such as a. Can this be used for time travel? b. Will it remove the taint of Original Sin? Does it convey the power of invisibility? El Cabrero and his cabritos used to pass many a dull afternoon in this manner.

Goat Rope...your source for better living.



ken said...

Looking in on the US political situation from here in Canada I find it strange that the Democrats seem so weak and powerless against the aggressive cuts to social programmes and huge increases in military spending. After all the Democrats control both houses.

El Cabrero said...

I agree--tis passing strange. I hope they start feeling their oats. Probably the biggest hitch is the Senate, where things can get easily tied up.

Thanks for the comment!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

The summary of the budget that I heard on NPR today is frightening! I hope that Congress has the courage and whatever to set it aright!

El Cabrero said...

Me too!

Jspiker said...

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969

And neither would Roosevelt be very happy with the current state of affairs!!

El Cabrero said...

Ike looks better and better all the time. So do most of them.

By the way, was that a Neapolitan mastiff?

Jspiker said...

I'm not sure about the mastiff but he can gulp down a half gallon of vanilla faster than a Republican can kiss a baby on election day.

And since we're on the subject...
Is that a Republican Peacock?

El Cabrero said...

Re the dog, the main thing is he has jowls. What's the point of a dog without jowls?

Re the peacock. I think he's more of an apolitical aesthete. He'll be debuting this weekend offering advice to the lovelorn.