2/10/2005

More on the Bush 2006 Budget Proposal

I knew I could count on Byron to comment on the Bush Budget Proposal. I look forward to my conservative/libertarian friend's comments on his blog (he's always a good foil to my views!)

I, like Byron, find the "Left" AND the "Right" to be very selective in the facts upon which they focus. I've refused to jump on board the Sojourners' "take action plan" to write congress about the points listed in my previous blog (2.8.2005) because I know that there is a bigger context (with positives and even more negatives not mentioned in those few points Sojourners points out).

Other Negatives:

1. "Bush’s budget forecasts a record deficit of $427 billion for 2005, including war costs. For 2006, he expects a deficit of $390 billion, but that does not include spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. The figures compare to a $236 billion surplus in 2000." -- MSNBC

-Isn't it amazing that a $2.58 trillion budget can be proposed that does not include the cost of running military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (now running about $5 billion a month), for which the administration is expected to seek an extra $80 billion from Congress later this year? (That just seems odd to me—isn’t it misleading to not include this in what, after all, is called the “national budget"?!)

-Isn't it also amazing that Bush seeks to make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 when the deficit is partly the result of those massive tax cuts during a time of war?

“Colgate University economics Professor Jay R. Mandle criticized the lack of
detail in the budget, saying, ‘Because the Bush budget does not include the
administration's long-term plans with regard to Social Security and taxation,
fails to include projected military expenditures in the Middle East, and
presents implausible assumptions concerning reduced expenditures for housing,
the environment, agriculture and medical care, it fails to do what a budget is
supposed to do: provide an accurate portrayal of government revenue and
expenditures in order to permit a reasoned political discussion of
priorities.’"
--
WashingtonTimes


2. ‘The expected increase in the 10-year cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefit has some lawmakers on Capitol Hill accusing the Bush administration of lying about the original estimate given when the bill was passed in 2003…the $400 billion estimate was said to cover the program's costs between 2004 and 2013, with the first two years dedicated to ramping up the program and the last eight for implementation. Two months after the bill passed, the White House revised the costs upward to $534 billion. The new estimate — to pay for the 2006-2015 operational costs — will cost taxpayers $720 billion, the Bush administration said Tuesday…‘While astonishing and disappointing, this news should not come as a surprise. The Bush White House has consistently and deliberately withheld and underestimated numbers when it is politically convenient,’ said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer D-Md.”Fox News

-Isn’t it amazing that the President who allegedly won the election on the basis of “moral values” can get away with these kinds of lies all the time?

3. In a clear break from Republican campaigns of the 1990s to downsize government and devolve power to the states, Bush is fostering what amounts to an era of new federalism in which the national government shapes, not shrinks, programs and institutions to comport with various conservative ideals…” --Jim VandeHei, Washington Post

-Isn’t it amazing that the “conservative” Bush is only “conservative” when it comes to certain things, and when it comes to hording power for the neo-cons and for the far-right agenda, all the talk of “eliminating big government” gets swept under the carpet?

Positives:

1. Bush is generally right when he says that we need to eliminate or vastly reduce “programs that aren't meeting needs, aren't meeting priorities and are not getting the job done. It's time to be wise with the people's money.”

-While many will disagree with him on the details of what those programs are, there needs to be some hard decisions made—and the President who sits in office at the time of budgeting is the one responsible for making those decisions. We need to help him make good decisions (and help our representatives as they work through the approval process). Programs like the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which has given hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies on wealthy Fortune 500 companies should be eliminated.

2. The Centers for Disease Control would receive $306 million, a 4.2 percent increase, for global health activities, including work on AIDS.

-This is hardly as much as Bush had originally promised to fight HIV/AIDS, but, taking into account the war and the deficit, it is a step in the right direction.

3. Farm programs will be cut by $587 million.

This will save the budget between 5 to 8 billion dollars over the next decade. Major cotton and rice growers are the primary recipients of US government subsidies, followed by wheat, corn and soybean farmers. Trade officials in poorer nations have long called for the scrapping of such subsidies, which protect US growers from competition with cheaper foreign commodities.

1 comment:

Byron said...

Interestingly, I'm not going to take too much issue with this post. For one thing, it's a bit more balanced than some! But I have arguments with this administration, of course; we spend WAY too much money in general, and I don't see this administration doing nearly enough to curb spending...no, to roll it back. As I said, defund and eliminate the Department of Education; its existence is a net negative. Do the same with Agriculture, for sure, and roll Veterans Affairs into something else. Politicians just love to spend money, whether they are Republican or Democrat, and the sad thing is that the Republicans fool us into believing that they don't. The Democrats try to fool us in other ways...