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Feb-03-2008 19:29TweetFollow @OregonNews
Bush's Budget Puts the Death Squeeze on Public ProgramsTim King Salem-News.com
Experts say that in spite of the nation's darkening economic clouds, brought on by decreasing tax revenues, Congress will probably not take action this year to stem the bleeding.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The spiraling growth of Medicare and the high cost of renewing the President's tax cuts are among the reasons that Democrats anticipate inheriting a record budget deficit that will likely break the 413 billion record set four years ago.
George W. Bush's plan that will be handed over to lawmakers tomorrow, will further squeeze the funds alloted for public education, health, housing and anti-poverty programs.
Democrats were quick to attack Bush's plan which they say leaves them to inherit a government badly in debt, one that will grow even larger after the costs of the war and the impact of Bush's tax cuts for wealthier Americans are calculated into the mix.
Democratic Senator Kent Conrad who is the chairman of the Budget Committee, said "The next president is going to inherit a colossal mess because of the fiscal irresponsibility of this president."
But President Bush says his budget is a path that can lead to a balanced budget in four years while leaving in place the tax cuts that are now scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. Bush says the only way to achieve that goal is by cutting spending in ways that Congress has rejected many times before. Bush's earlier proposal would have killed or significantly cut 141 programs to save 12 billion, that was rejected last year by Congress. Bush's new proposal includes about 50 percent more in the way of cuts to programs.
One thing the President did in this package was to include some attractive benefits to accompany those that will likely receive a very poor reception. One is 20 billion over the next five years for the hotly debated State Children's Health Insurance Program. An additional 6 billion is requested to complete a massive project to protect flood ravaged New Orleans from future incidents, and the FDA's budget would be increased so the agency can send staff overseas to inspect food and drugs imported into the United States.
Experts say that in spite of the nation's darkening economic clouds, brought on by decreasing tax revenues, Congress will probably not take action this year to stem the bleeding. It is unlikely that federal spending will be reduced in a presidential election year, and lawmakers probably will not defer to this unpopular, lame duck president.
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