Tuesday, February 08, 2005

George's Budget Proposal

In an ethical world it would be a disgrace. In the corporate world it might be criminal. But in the current administration:

"It is a budget that sets priorities," the president told reporters after meeting with his second-term Cabinet for the first time. "Our priorities are winning the war on terror, protecting our homeland, growing our economy. It's a budget that focuses on results. Taxpayers in America don't want us spending their money on something that's not achieving results."

Right. So what we are going to get is more money for abstinence education for teenagers (39 million more), when every good study shows that abstinence education does not work. Faith-based programs will also get more money, and there will be more tax cuts for the wealthy.

Where are the cuts then? Well, they are going to be the inefficient programs, the programs that don't work, according to George. Like Medicaid, the system that pays for some of the medical care of the poor families. And the Foodstamps program which funds food for some poor people. This is what George says on the topic:

Bush disputed suggestions that his budget cuts would fall hardest on impoverished Americans, saying he targeted ineffectual or redundant spending. "The important question that needs to be asked for all constituencies is whether or not the programs achieve a certain result," he said. "Have you set goals, and are those goals being met? And the poor and disadvantaged absolutely ought to be asking that question too."

Using the same efficiency criterion, George is going to spend less money on police departments as they're first defenders and all that. But more will be spent on the war against terrorism abroad, except that the full costs of the Iraq occupation are not included in the budget. Neither are the transition costs of destroying Social Security if George gets around to this project.

The administration is also going to cut other inefficient programs such as fighting drug and alcohol use among school children.

The effect of all this is to barely make one tiny George-tooth sized dent in the federal deficit. Much more cutting will have to be done in the future. Remember that George started with a surplus four years ago. At this rate we'll be a third world nation before he is done.