Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In looking at Bush's proposed budget, it appears it's business as usual: cut the usual suspects, leave defense untouched, and then deceive, deceive, deceive.

For starters, he says he'll cut his escalating budget deficit in half by 2009 -- but does so by first inflating the deficit figure from $412 bil. to $521 bil. What the heck, what's another $109 bil., right? So, with this bit of underhanded trickery, he won't have to get to $206 bil. to fulfill his promise, but rather $261 bil. Oh, and the ballooning costs associated with Iraq and Afghanistan? Not included, they're "off budget" (hmmm, didn't Enron pull this kind of stuff? Bush taking a page from his buddy Kenny Boy's book?).

Defense spending will increase by 7%, or three times as much as the overall budget. The programs taking it on the chin (numbering 150)? Nearly all of them involved with helping middle to lower income folks. An example: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their heating bills, would be cut by 8.4%.

And of course, the EPA gets its obligatory yearly cut, this time slicing its budget by 5.6%. The greatest single slash: federal payments to a joint state-federal fund that underwrites projects to improve water quality. But who needs clean water? After all, we could be killed tomorrow by terrorists!

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