04 February 2008

2009 US Budget and nuclear proliferation

This is from the American Progress Action Fund ..

Truly time for military keynesianISM to go or more nuclear proliferation is in the offing. This links should amply show how the addiction to nukes affects the common person.



Bush's Cruel Budget

President Bush will unveil his budget for fiscal year 2009 today. During last week's State of the Union address, Bush declared that he would put the nation on track to a balanced budget in 2012, claiming, "American families have to balance their budgets, and so should their Government." But under Bush's proposal, "the budget deficit would jump sharply, from $163 billion in 2007 to about $400 billion in 2008 and 2009. ... Such deficits would rival the record deficit of $412 billion of 2004." Bush's tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Though the budget includes needed increases in funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Food and Drug Administration, it also slashes over 100 domestic programs. Bush took office in 2001 facing a projected $5.6 trillion surplus over the next ten years, but his enormous deficits "will absolutely bedevil the next administration," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND).

HEALTH CARE SLASHED: Bush's budget will include $170 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next five years and will also cut $1.2 billion from Medicaid next year "and nearly $14 billion over five years." Most of the Medicare savings in the budget would be achieved "by reducing the annual update in federal payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, ambulances and home care agencies." The largest savings "by far" come from cutting funding to hospitals, even as hospitals are closing across the country. (Three hundred fewer public hospitals exist today than 15 years ago.) William Dombi, vice president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, said that under Bush's budget, "75 percent to 80 percent of home health agencies would be doomed. They would not be able to meet payroll. They would not be able to operate." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, "The President's cuts are exactly the wrong medicine when the cost of health care and the number of uninsured continue to rise and families are feeling economically insecure."

CRUEL DOMESTIC CUTS: To maintain his tax cuts for the wealthy, Bush's budget slashes 151 domestic programs. Poison control centers face a 62 percent cut, rural health programs are decimated 87 percent, and the Community Services Block Grant, "a $654 million program that provides housing, nutrition, education and job services to low-income people," is completely eliminated. A new health program for 9/11 rescue workers is slashed by 77 percent, "even though the administration has said that many workers were exposed to 'unprecedented levels of risk' for lung disease and other illnesses." The budget slices 22 percent from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. "The White House wants to eliminate spending for more than a dozen education programs, including Even Start, which promotes family literacy; grants to the states for classroom technology; Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, for needy undergraduates; and a scholarship program named for the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia." "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lose more than $430 million, including...$28 million from chronic disease prevention and health promotion. A $301 million program that trains 4,700 pediatricians and pediatric specialists at children's teaching hospitals also would be eliminated, at a time when pediatric specialties, such as rheumatology and pulmonology, face critical shortages." The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program loses $194 million, a cut of 64 percent, and "states and cities would see cuts of $1.5 billion from the $3.75 billion in grants for security, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical teams approved by Congress for this year."

UNPRECEDENTED MILITARY SPENDING: With the Pentagon's 2009 budget increased to $515.4 billion, "annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will have reached its highest level since World War II." The budget gives the Pentagon a $35 billion increase over last year, "about 7 percent, with war costs additional." This enormous budget includes a $70 billion "bridge fund" to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year. "Since coming to office, the administration has increased baseline military spending by 30 percent over all," including "$600 billion already approved in supplemental budgets to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for counterterrorism operations." Separate from the $515.4 billion, Bush's budget also calls for $21 billion for nuclear weapons programs. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Lawrence Korb writes that the United States could "safely trim $60 billion" from Bush's Pentagon budget, including saving $13 billion by reducing the nuclear arsenal.

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