Monday, February 07, 2005

Bush Budget Slashes Spending

It's a lot like your bank's president embezzling your account, partying with his rich friends, and then calling in your loan while threatening to reposses your car.
“President Bush sent Congress a 2006 budget of just under $2.6 trillion today, laying out a politically ambitious blueprint for slashing many domestic programs while raising spending on the military and homeland security.

The president said his budget would further his goal of cutting the federal deficit in half, as a percentage of the gross domestic product, by 2009, while promoting prosperity and entrepreneurial principles. He said that it would do that while continuing to strengthen the military so that it could win "the global war on terror" and spread freedom around the world.

The president has already vowed to cut or eliminate entirely about 150 nonmilitary programs, including 48 in the Department of Education, that he says have become ineffective. The White House has estimated that this trimming and consolidation can save $20 billion a year.

But some politically popular programs are intact. For example, Head Start, the program for poor children that was begun under President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" vision, is to receive $6.9 billion, about the same as in the current budget.

Mr. Bush's spending plan, which has already sparked opposition on Capitol Hill as details have leaked out, is certain to be furiously debated in the months ahead, and not just on strict party lines.

The Senate minority leader, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada,quickly issued a statement calling Mr. Bush's package "the most irresponsible and misleading budget in our nation's history."

The House minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, told The Associated Press that she thought Mr. Bush's blueprint was "a hoax on the American people."

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York declared the president's plan "the worst budget for New York that I've seen in my 26 years in the Congress." Mr. Schumer, who sits on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, added that the president's budget "breaks promises to New Yorkers and to the entire country."

Complaining that veterans, the elderly, children, students and sick people would be short-changed, Mr. Schumer said, "It is now up to the Congress to make sure that ideological cuts to critical programs survive this budget meat ax."

The budget does not provide for money to finance military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are covered by separate legislation. The White House has signaled that it will soon ask Congress for $75 billion to $80 billion more in the current fiscal year for those operations, and in all probability a similar, or larger, sum will be requested once the 2006 fiscal year is under way.”

Budget of the United States Government: Browse Fiscal Year 2006
Bush Budget Raises Drug Prices for Many Veterans

The budget does not include a separate financial and political issue of enormous importance that Mr. Bush will be negotiating with Congress: his plan to revamp Social Security, chiefly by allowing younger workers to set up private accounts within the retirement system.

If the past is any guide, the final budget for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1 will look much different from the one the president sketched today. But the annual midwinter budget presentation to Congress is important politically, as the White House lays out its goals, and 535 members of the House and Senate counter with theirs.

Mr. Bush did not back off his oft-stated position that the "temporary" tax cuts enacted over the past several years should be made permanent as their expiration dates come up over the next several years. In fact, his proposed budget assumes that the tax cuts will remain in effect, and that inflation will continue at its moderate pace.
con·cept: Bush Budget Slashes Spending