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Feb-03-2008 19:29printcomments

Bush's Budget Puts the Death Squeeze on Public Programs

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.

President George W. Bush
President George W. Bush
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(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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Sue February 5, 2008 7:41 am (Pacific time)

Neal, unfortunately, I think you are right. I have to say that I am just an average person that pays a little more attention than the evening news (entertainment). I am not as knowledgeable or even close as others like Henry. I hope that other average working mothers like myself, pay attention too. My kids (in their early 20's) are aware of whats going. My reason for rambling on is that I am holding out for some hope.

Henry Ruark February 4, 2008 3:55 pm (Pacific time)

Neal et al: Dunno whether the W/Ds in our population are really a majority or that appearance is a consequence of widespread media failure and the right-wing "noise machine", allowed to overwhelm almost all others and frame the dialog for far too long. We surely see evidence that the tide is now turning --again !!-- as it has in only three or four major situations since the original Revolution, with progressive views leading the way towards whatever the 21st Century will bring.

Neal Feldman February 4, 2008 2:44 pm (Pacific time)

Sue - Unfortunatelt the majority population are so moronic and manipulatable they do not think anymore (if they ever did). They are far more interested in Britney flashing her crotch than they are about important issue likely because they lack the wit and education to actually comprehend anything more complex than Britney flashing her crotch. Sad, but apparently true, Ah well...

Henry Ruark February 4, 2008 9:45 am (Pacific time)

Sue: Your insightful statement right on target. Grover Norquist et al have made a point of "starving the beast" (the federal budget), exemplified in his oft-quoted "until we can drag it into the bathdub and drown it", and his insistence that one bankrupt State "would be exemplary demonstration for others." Both unwarranted policies come from flawed "supply-side" economics, built on "less is more" approach to taxation for larger incoming-flow when tax-rate is lowered; and now-outmoded and failed "trickle down" theory that monies sliced off to rich will be invested in productivity improvement...when canny rich simply seek out their highest possible rate for capital return and look ahead to low and still-lower "capital gain" tax payments blackmailed from politicos by "campaign contributions", both individual and corporate. Makes for huge ongoing and costly financial racket, at least as immoral and unjust as any gangster-applied forcible rape of democratic progressive tax-intention. See current Op Ed for more detailed explanatio, and for demanded remedial steps.

Sue February 4, 2008 8:34 am (Pacific time)

This is the republican plan. Destroy the government programs that work by under funding them and then they can say government doesn't work. That will open the door for private companies that they own to take over. I am amazed that so many don't see this as it is already happening!!!

Henry Ruark February 4, 2008 6:32 am (Pacific time)

BV, Neal et al: Your mutual points well-made but perhaps overlook the now obvious forces-unleashed being revealed by probing analyses of "supply-side" policies. The political theories for which the originally distorted napkin-curve bccame Reagan-era cover are basically what's at fault with neo/lib/con actions over the past thirty years as the extremely damaging deep consequences now becoming more and more obvious. Removing the perpetrators, unless we immediately guard against more-of-the-same from the confluence of corporate and other business interests determined to rule over us will do little to "fix things". What we need is development of wide-and-applied citizen-involving and very "progressive" policy, at every level and on every issue. How else ever to recover "Government OF the People, BY the People, FOR the People"?

BV February 3, 2008 10:34 pm (Pacific time)

Yeah and the democrats really know how to handle my tax dollars too. It's all a farce this political system. Why does anyone bother? The same stupid arguments over which party cares about the people of this United States. Neither do as this system is corrupt and it's time for a complete overhaul.

Neal Feldman February 3, 2008 8:59 pm (Pacific time)

They need to impeach this unpopular, lame duck president. Those tax cuts for the wealthy should never be renewed... they were asinine drom the word go. And of course this neocon nightmare of a president wants to cut all programs that benefit everyone but the uber rich. They need to kill the sop to the wealthy NOW.. not wait until 2010. They need to do away with the medicare and social security tax cap that ignores all income over around 90k per year. And they need to up the tax by about half a percent. They also need to get us out of the quagmire of Iraq and finish up in Afghanistan and not start any more wars. They also need to dump the gross unfunded mandate that is NCLB. They do these things THEN they might be on the start of a road back to budget surpluses and a medicare and social security system good well into the 23rd century and beyond. Will the politicos have the spine to do so? Doubtful. But it is what needs to be done. Ah well...

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