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

Monday, February 02, 2004  

Starving the beast

The President's new budget is out, and if you guessed he might soften his ideological vigor in an election year, you'd be wrong. Grover Norquist is smiling.

The budget, as written, will put us $364 billion in the hole--but that's a pipe dream, employing calculations that revenues will increase 13.2% (the real figure is over a half trillion). In fact, like everything Bush does, it's a deeply disengenous piece of policy--a idealogical trojan horse that will further gut services to the public good while transfering revenue to corporate lackies. In other words, Bush has plenty of lies to disguise the real damage.

To wit:

He has slated military spending to increase by 7%--double the rate of spending growth overall, but defensible given we've got two wars to clean up. Except it's not 7%. That's just regular spending--the Iraq and Afghanistan expenditures aren't included (sound familiar?).

The bill is backloaded so expenditures come due after Bush leaves office. Example: his Mission to Mars farce gets only $1 billion in new funds now. Big vision my ass.

Bush wants to make tax cuts permanent, which is essentially one of those no-interest-payments-'til-2010! deals, after which the massive bill comes due. While Bush is vacationing safely in Barbados.

Of course, even the Prez's own numbers are grim, so that means cuts to all those nasty government agencies Grover so despises. Leaving aside non-discretionary funds (the accounts Bush isn't allowed to raid and give to the rich) and the military, the fat left to cut must come from less than 18% of the total budget. The result will mean elimination of 65 federal programs, and substantial cuts to seven of the 16 cabinet-level agencies. Hated agencies like the EPA and Agriculture Department are bearing the brunt. Those follow substantial cuts Bush made last year to pay for wars and tax cuts.

This is all a first-blush look at a budget released today. When the likes of Max, Brad, and Nathan get on the case, I'm sure we'll have a lot more to talk about.

posted by Jeff | 7:39 AM |
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