Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who is counting the bodies here at home?

The AP counts the Americans who die in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is there anyone who counts the lives lost to the Bush incompetence here at home? With the Hurricane Katrina fiasco with Michael Brown at FEMA, the elimination of the long-promised but never delivered help on winter heating bills, the Medicare Part D debacle (overseen by Mark McClellan, brother to presidential spokesman Scott McClellan), and now the Scroogian budget cuts, Americans are making sacrifices not for principles or ideals, but for incompetence, elitism and cronyism.

These are real people, real lives, real suffering, and they deserve to at least be a number on a list somewhere, and not swept under the rug with the forgotten promises and pyrric victories.

All the damage is not accidental or a result of ineptness. Much of it is intentional, driven by ideology and hubris. CBPP reports that the president's budget cuts for 2007 are only the tip of the iceberg (or the fin of the shark, since the icebergs have melted). OMB omitted explicit information about the out years, those after 2007, from its budget documents, but CBPP obtained Administration computer runs that allowed it to piece together the story.

Relative to OMB's 2006 baseline:
Veterans programs would be cut $10.3 billion over the next five years, primarily health care services, a cut of 13% in 2011.

Energy programs touted in the state of the union get a big 29% cut by 2011

Environmental and natural resources cut by 22%, $28.1 billion over five years.

Education. Higher education cut 20%, K-12 and vocational education cut 13%, including community college funding and job training.

Health programs down 13% by 2011, a cut of $21.9 billion over five years.
And so on. Cuts in programs like this, also hurt the economy's base. These are economic depressants, or whatever the antonym to stimulus is. These cuts do not significantly alter the projected deficits, but they do give some wiggle room for more tax cuts.


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