Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bush budget cuts everything wrong, nothing right

Bush Budget Would Cut Law Enforcement Aid

The above title highlights only one of the many very important programs which would face funding cuts if Bush's budget were passed as-is. First, let's see some of what would be slashed, and possibly burned, not necessarily in that order.

  • A grant program for local police agencies would be slashed from $600 million to $60 million

  • Totally eliminate a separate program to help police agencies improve their technology and communications infrastructure

  • A grants for firefighters would fall from $715 million to $500 million

  • Totally eliminate $300 million that goes to states for incarcerating illegal immigrants who've committed crimes

  • $450 million would be cut from the EPA, which is already doing very little to actually PROTECT the environment

  • $100 million would be cut from the Bureau of Indian Affairs

  • Home heating aid to low-income people, many of whom are elderly, would lose $200 million. This despite spiralling heating costs.

    According to a report from United for a Fair Economy entitled "Shifty Tax Cuts: How They Move the Tax Burden off the Rich and onto Everyone Else", between 2002 and 2004 the top 1% of income earners were the beneficiaries of $197 BILLION of tax cuts. I don't know about you, but one of the first things I think of after reading something like that is that maybe the firefighter grants shouldn't be cut by $250 million. Maybe a dozen or two of the wealthiest individuals could reach deep into their overflowing pockets and contribute that which is needed to sustain the greatness of American society.

    Then again, who doesn't like a good tax cut? I certainly wouldn't mind being wealthy and powerful enough to innocently suggest to a few senators that I could use a nice new tax cut while we're all out shooting 12 over par at an exclusive white male-only country club. Again, who wouldn't? The answer to that question should be self-evident. Anyone who cares about this country and its citizens. Anyone who understands that it is a priveledge to contribute to the general welfare of this great nation. Anyone who isn't so self-absorbed as to actively plot and scheme to take more and more money away from poor and near-poor people. In short, anyone with the true American values of economic liberalism.

    But that is not what is happening, nor is it what has ever happened in our society. Never have decades passed where the average worker's wealth and income increased dozens of times more than those of the super-wealthy. Yet we consistently watch helplessly as the wealthy get wealthier and wealthier, all at our expense. And that, the fact that it is at the expense of the rest of us, is half of rub should rub all patriotic Americans the wrong way. The other half is that they are not playing on a level playing field; there is a very good reason that it has always worked out the way that it does, and that reason is simply that they control the legislature. They order up and receive tax cuts and deregulation as deftly as the Bush administration ordered up and received fake evidence that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to America. This is an egregious breach of the responsibility with which we have entrusted our representatives, yet they continue on with impunity because of the friendly media, which just so happens to benefit from tax cuts and deregulation too! What a cozy deal! Where do I sign up?

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