Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Adding it up

As you know we are in budget season once more. The White House has sent over a budget which cuts a large number of programs and calls for cut backs in a number of other programs. But it's also a little phony. Both the costs for President Bush's proposed Social Security Personal Accounts scam and for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are not in the budget. But don't worry, Bush did put something into the budget, according to the Progress Report.
No matter which way you slice it, the administration's budget is egregiously fiscally irresponsible - by its own estimates, it will result in a $390 billion deficit in 2006. Worse, that figure is only arrived at through trickery. The budget includes over a billion dollars in revenue from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), even though Congress hasn't authorized such drilling and has rejected President Bush's proposal to open ANWR to oil exploration for the last four years. Budget Director Josh Bolten defended the move, claiming, "the budget is the right place to present the entirety of the president's policies, so all of his proposals are reflected in there." Really? The Bush budget excludes all funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the administration's $2 trillion Social Security package.
So if a figure is going to make the Bush Administration's Budget look good it must be added. But if it is going to make the budget look irresponsible, well, those numbers can be left out.

The number one priority of this administration isn't balancing the budget, it isn't Saving Social Security, it isn't even keeping our troops safe. It is protecting the Bush Tax Cuts. Once you understand that, this kind of budgetary flim-flam becomes quite understandable.

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