The Bush Budget Reflects The GOP's True Moral Values - Or Lack Of Them
Bush and Stepford Laura on their way into church yesterday, a day before he issued a budget that bore no semblance to the moral message he heard in church.
Bush released his proposed Fiscal 2006 budget this morning, containing all the cuts and other consolidations necessary to demonstrate a passing interest in reducing spending. But just as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities predicted months ago, the proposed cuts fall almost exclusively on domestic spending, and never touches Bush’s tax cuts, which he insists on making permanent while slashing real domestic needs. Bush even seems to know that he’ll have a hard time selling this package with his acknowledgment up front that eliminating programs is difficult, which is codespeak for "I may not pull this one off."
And as you might have guessed, in keeping with Bush’s budget history, this document was a fraud the moment it was issued.
Democrats immediately branded the budget a "hoax" because it left out the huge future costs for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and did not include the billions of dollars that will be needed for Bush's No. 1 domestic priority, overhauling Social Security.
The budget — the most austere of Bush's presidency — would eliminate or vastly scale back 150 government programs. It will spark months of contentious debate in Congress, where lawmakers will fight to protect their favored programs.
House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California called Bush's budget "a hoax on the American people. The two issues that dominated the president's State of the Union address — Iraq and Social Security — are nowhere to be found in this budget."
"This budget is part of the Republican plan to cut Social Security benefits while handing out lavish tax breaks for multimillionaires," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "Its cuts in veterans programs, health care and education reflect the wrong priorities and its huge deficits are fiscally irresponsible."
Bush's budget does not reflect the costs for his No. 1 domestic priority, overhauling Social Security by allowing younger workers to set up private investment accounts. Aides said since the plan is still being developed, accurate cost estimates could not be made.
The budget also does not include any new spending for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration has said it will seek in coming weeks an additional $80 billion for the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for this year.
Despite the rhetoric or insane rantings of Tom DeLay, this budget will be the first of many second term problems for the White House as we head to 2006. Democrats will have plenty of targets to shoot at in undermining and eventually crumbling the White House’s political support for next year, ranging from the cuts in farm aid, the cuts in veterans benefits, the breaking of promises in education, police, fire, and homeland security support, housing assistance; all while maintaining the millionaires’ tax breaks and paying any amount out of the treasury to fund Afghanistan, Iraq, and the building of military bases overseas. As the true extent of Bush’s cuts are becoming more and more clear, Democrats can remind voters that his tax cuts are the major drivers behind the deficit, not domestic spending.
Dick Cheney has already told us that deficits don’t matter, so the problem for Bush with this budget isn’t the lack of money, but rather the choices and moral values demonstrated by this cabal in choosing what to cut and who to protect. It is a false argument that our deficits are being caused by discretionary domestic spending, and Democrats need to focus the debate on the moral values behind the choices made by the White House, or lack thereof.