Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, February 04, 2003  

Atrocious? How about the President’s newly-proposed budget. Many of the facts are getting consistent airplay: the $304b deficit (larger even than Pappy’s—Dubya’s always competing!), the increases in spending on the massive war machine to the detriment of other programs, the stalwart support for tax cuts to the rich. Among the several good articles on it are ones from the Post, the New York Times, and the LA Times.

As the White House notes in the document: “One conclusion is inescapable. The federal government must restrain the growth in any spending not directly associated with the physical security of the nation.” A few of the especially fine items:

Private insurance for Medicaid patients; other changes will eliminate coverage for some seniors;

Calls to drill in ANWR

Increases in Homeland Security and Defense and the SEC, decreases for the Department of Labor, CDC, after-school services, vocational training, the Department of Education (45 programs in total), aid for rural development, monies for policing, public housing, and Amtrak;

According to this budget, defense spending will increase only 4% in 2003, but will increase by $20b every year thereafter, rising from $390 to $484b.

And nowhere in the budget is there an allotment for costs associated with an Iraq war (I know, I know, he hasn’t made up his mind).

The document’s over 700 pages long, so safe to say that there are Easter eggs hidden throughout. Some of these are likely to be brutal. For example, a local radio station reported today (in Portland, Oregon) that as part of his “Healthy Forests” initiative, Bush will cut funds that protect salmon habitat (sorry, can’t find a link). No doubt the budget’s riddled with these kinds of cuts.

What’s troubling about Bush’s proposal is that even if the Dems stake out major ground on many items, a lot of the small stuff—stuff that’s misunderstood or not supported by an active lobby—will just get shuffled through. This has been Bush’s (remarkably successful) strategy thus far: fire with both barrels and hope the majority of buckshot finds the mark. If the Dems don’t ship the whole document back as DOA, it’ll probably work again.

posted by Jeff | 3:42 PM |
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