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February 02, 2004

BUDGET: PERPETUAL WAR - PERPETUAL EXCUSE

Bush Sends Congress a $2.4 Trillion Budget
Oh, and that itty bitty - Republicans say - 2001 ressession? It's still being blamed for these massive fuck ups spending bills.

Ag and EPA the departments hit the most.

The A.D.D. and ADD president. Short-sighted. Won't figure out a supplemental budget figure for Afghanistan and Iraq .... until after the November elections.

Shape-shifting little fuck.


By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush sent Congress a $2.4 trillion election-year budget on Monday featuring big increases for defense and homeland security and a pledge to cut this year's projected record deficit of $521 billion in half by 2009.

Bush blamed the soaring budget deficits on the 2001 recession and the costs of fighting a war on terrorism. His budget director said as much as $50 billion more in red ink will be added to the budget's projected $364 billion deficit for 2005 when the costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan get added in.

"The reason we are where we are is because we went through a recession, we were attacked and we're fighting a war. Those are high hurdles for a budget and for a country to overcome," Bush told his Cabinet. [This is also what he said in 2003 and in 2002.]

He said he was confident he could cut the deficit in half in five years by working with Congress "to bring fiscal discipline to the appropriations process."

White House budget director Joshua Bolten said the administration will not make a request for a wartime supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan until after the November elections. He said $50 billion would probably be the "upper limit" of what would be needed in 2005. If that level is reached, it would mean Bush's $364 billion deficit target for 2005 would rise to $414 billion.

"I would hope that we would be spending substantially less than we are today, but I don't know," Bolten told reporters at a budget briefing.

To battle the soaring deficits, Bush proposed squeezing scores of government programs and sought outright spending cuts in seven of 16 Cabinet-level agencies. The Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency were targeted for the biggest reductions.

In total, Bolten said Bush's budget would eliminate 65 government programs for a saving of $4.9 billion. The budget proposes trimming spending in 63 other programs.

Bolten said the administration targeted duplicative programs and those not achieving their objectives. A total of 38 education programs are targeted for elimination. [How about 37 of them being created as a result of NCLB?]

The president declared that his spending blueprint, which will set off months of heated debate in Congress, advances his three highest priorities - winning the war on terror, strengthening homeland defenses and boosting the economic recovery.

"Our nation remains at war," Bush said in his budget message. "This nation has committed itself to the long war against terror. And we will see that war to its inevitable conclusion: the destruction of the terrorists." [Just like the drug war and the war on poverty. No fucking end in sight, pusswad.]

The president's plan for the 2005 budget year, which begins next Oct. 1, proposes spending $2.4 trillion for all government activities, up 3.5 percent from the current year. Revenues will total $2.04 trillion, a sizable 13.2 percent increase that the administration forecasts will occur from growing tax receipts powered by a stronger economy.

[Oh god, this is royally fucked up. We are relying on a bouncy economy to fund this? Oh god. How about less money for defense? Now. Now. Now. But he can't do that after three years of saying America now lives in a dangerous world and we're screwed unless we remain vigilant. He doesn't want to reduce defense - he'd disappoint all his friends, "indivisible, with dollars and chump change for all."]

The president's budget, featuring a line drawing of the White House in forest green on the cover, states that stronger economic growth and reductions in general government spending will produce steady improvements in the deficit. It projected the deficit would decline to $237 billion in 2009, a cut of 55 percent from this year's projected $521 billion record.

[Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Sob. BS. Sob. BS. Sob. BS. Sob. S.O.B.]

Democrats immediately attacked [why is it always phrased this way, R or D? It makes such attacks sound empty - an unneeded judgment call from reporters] the spending proposal for what they viewed as harmful reductions in various government programs and the president's insistence on making his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent at a cost projected in the budget of more than $900 billion over 10 years.

"This administration pledged that its tax cuts and policy choices would not turn record surpluses into record deficits, but this budget shows that's exactly what's happened," said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. [A good quote. Bonus. It's !@#$%ing true.]

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass, called on Congress to reject Bush's spending plan, charging it was the "most antifamily, anti-worker, anti-healthcare, anti-education budget in modern times." [Um, OK, but how???]

Rep. John Spratt, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said Bush's budget would reduce government spending on a broad swath of government programs from transportation to environmental protection that provide "priority services that the American people want and expect."

On the campaign trail, Democrats running for Bush's job were also critical. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark said the budget showed Bush's priorities were "tax cuts for the rich and tough luck for everyone else." Sen. Joe Lieberman said the country "can't afford another four years of the same destructive fiscal leadership."

Bush would boost military spending by 7 percent in 2005, but that does not include the money needed to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[That's like saying, I can afford all my bills, though that doesn't include my mortgage or electricity.]

Officials said a supplemental request for these funds will be sent to Congress but not until after the November elections. Congress last year approved an $87.5 billion wartime supplemental for the current budget year.

Homeland security, another top priority would receive a 10 percent boost, including an 11 percent increase in FBI funding to support increased counterterrorism activities.

A firestorm of criticism erupted last week when it was revealed the administration had re-estimated the 10-year cost of the newly enacted Medicare prescription drug benefit program at $534 billion, far above the $400 billion figure Congress used in passing the measure two months ago.

[Yeah, wonder why. People on both "sides" of the political aisle were a little, shall we say, preturbed and feel duped. This administration has about as much reliability on fiscal responsibility as Bill O' Reilly has about calm, measured, debate.]

The budget documents said the major reasons for the discrepancy were higher estimates for the number of participants in the program and new projections for health care price increases.

[You're quite right, sirs. We are complete fucking fools. How did we forget that? higher estmates that came out just about the time you were putting this together? Those? No. We don't need no stinking truth.]

As previously announced, Bush's budget proposes an ambitious program to return Americans to the moon as early as 2015 and eventually send a mission to Mars. However, the budget only contains $1 billion in new money for the effort over the next five years with another $11 billion reallocated from current NASA programs. In 2005, Bush proposes increasing NASA's budget by 6 percent to $16.2 billion.

Other programs that would receive boosts in Bush's budget include his No Child Left Behind education program; job training programs, including one that links community colleges with employers' and an $18 million increase for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bush's budget proposes to hold the spending increase for all of the government's discretionary programs - those other than mandatory entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare - to 3.9 percent in 2005. That average rise includes big boosts for the military and homeland security.

[Which, means dumbass reporter, that the average is really essentially useless. It means there are cuts for almost everything else or small 0.1 percent increases so no one can say they are being cut - except in real dollars - which Republicans always hate when we call an inflation-ignored increase a cut.]

Scores of government programs outside those two areas will be restrained to an overall increase of just 0.5 percent, below the rise in inflation, and some agencies will suffer outright cuts.

[Since I'm typing these as I go - see, I was right. Mama didn't raise no fool.]

The budget calls for outright spending cuts in seven of 16 Cabinet-level agencies.

The Agriculture Department's budget authority for 2005 would be reduced by 8.1 percent while EPA's budget would be cut by 7.2 percent. The departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice, Transportation and Treasury would also see their funding for discretionary programs decrease in 2005 under Bush's spending plan.

Some non-Cabinet agencies would also see large reductions for 2005 including a 49.2 percent cut for the General Services Administration, the government's landlord, [Must remind myself what this department really does.] and a 10.4 percent reduction in spending at the Small Business Administration.

[Um, small-business? Engine that drives the economy? Hello?]

The Corps of Engineers, builder of dams and other water projects favored by members of Congress, would see its budget reduced by 13.1 percent under Bush's proposal.

[Ah, it ends on a sane note. Sort of. The Corps also conducts a great deal of environmental studies].
My lunch time red meat. Back to work.