Bush’s budget priorities

February 4th, 2004 – 12:00 am
Tagged as: Uncategorized

President Bush has proposed a pathetic excuse for a budget. To quote Jack Balkin over at Balkinization:

This Washington Post story on Bush’s proposed budget confirms my suspicions about Bush’s political strategy. To please his right wing he is proposing cuts in a whole host of social programs which will actually add up to a comparatively small amount (less than one percent of the predicted budget deficit of 521 billion dollars) while at the same time accelerating military spending (read here defense contracting) and lowering taxes yet again for the wealthy. It’s pure symbolic politics that has nothing to do with fiscal discipline. By selectively picking out and gutting programs that his conservative base identifies with a liberal social agenda, President Bush he appears to stand for budgetary restraint and for making tough decisions about government expenditures when in reality he is running enormous deficits and lining the pockets of his wealthiest supporters.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell, and I don’t think anyone but the hardcore right wing is going to think this is a good idea. As Jack said, the budget involves cutting a host of already underfunded social programs while pouring more money into defense. At the same time, the budget isn’t even counting the costs of Iraq or Afghanistan, and Bush is pushing to make his current tax cuts permanent (even though they’re the main cause of the huge deficits the government is running) and to pile on still more tax cuts for the wealthy.

It’s simple really. Bush wants to appeal to his conservative base by looking like a spending hawk, while at the same time he doesn’t want to do anything to actually fix the deficit, because that would involve not giving big handouts to his friends the defense contractors and taking back the ridiculous tax cuts he gave to the wealthy.

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