Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Negative Side Of Federal Deficit Reduction

Balancing the Federal Budget deficit should be a very important goal. Yesterday The New York Times in a feature story noted how an increase in tax revenues may whittle the $427 billion projected budget deficit by as much as 25%. However there are many ways in which the budget deficit is being trimmed that are not so positive.

For fiscal year 2006, many programs that the Bush White has campaigned on, or has visibly claimed to promote are now actually under the White House budget ax. This two-faced approach to budgeting is nothing new for this White House. Right after the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center site, Mr. Bush made sure he was part of a photo opt with firefighters. But almost the same day, Mr. Bush cut funds to fire agencies around the nation who relied on federal aid to afford firefighting gear such as hoses, ladders or even trucks that small fire departments need to function, but lack the local tax base to purchase.

With so many soldiers fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and such a flurry of advertising to recruit new soldiers to replace or rotate the troops, it would be expected that strong White House support for the Office of Veterans Affairs would be a prime issue to encourage new or existed soldiers to aid these war efforts, yet the White House is planning to ax $910 million in 2006 from the Veterans Affairs.

And some important social programs such as the Bush promoted Homeownership program is set for cuts. And other housing programs that provide low cost housing are either set for large cuts or transfer to other management to force major cuts. And medical research, a nutrition program for women, infants and children, job training, as well as the Education Department are all set for 2006 budget cuts by the Bush White House.

This is a classic "guns vs. butter" showdown for the budget. $500 billion for defense. $500 million for permanent military base construction in Iraq. A war that has cost $180.3 billion, or $1,623 per family or $721 per American so far. And also the cost of 1,755 American soldiers killed and 13,336 wounded. These are the only costs and expenses that are growth industry with the Bush White House. 32 members of the Bush Administration are either former defense contractor executives, paid consultants, or major stockholders. 42 members of the Bush Administration are associated with the oil industry, including former Chevron executive, Dr. Condoleezza Rice who even had a major oil tanker named after her. In the Bush Administration "guns" will always get funding and "butter" will always be wanting.

For so many religious voters who supported this Administration, who often are very kind hearted, the values of a budget so heavy in "guns" and so light in "butter", have to be a concern. For a country like America to cut back on programs like Headstart and instead reward Halliburton reconstruction and war contracting is a budget without a serious moral compass. The 2006 White House proposed budget is being financed on the backs of so many defenseless women, children and infants. Unlike the oil and defense contractor industries, these powerless and sometimes even homeless groups lack political clout in the Bush White House.


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