So Bush has submitted his $3.1 trillion budget, and you sure can tell what his priorities are.
He gives the biggest increase to the Pentagon, about 12%, up to $515 billion.
Adjusted for inflation, that’s the “highest level since World War II,” The New York Times notes.
And that’s not even counting the $100 billion Bush is planning on spending on Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming year.
Nor does it count the tens of billions in the budget for spying.
Nor the billions on nuclear weapons that are hidden in the Department of Energy’s budget.
Face it: We’re spending an ungodly amount of money on war-making,
Ten years ago, it was the fantasy of the Project for a New American Century to get Pentagon spending up to $500 billion a year.
That fantasy is now reality.
And while the Pentagon gets a 12% boost, the Department of Housing and Urban Development faces a 12% drop. And Bush proposes slashing 47 programs out of the Department of Education and shaving $200 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, programs that help the poor, the elderly, and the disabled.
For all his talk about AIDS prevention overseas, Bush is reducing, in real terms, the amount of funding for HIV/AIDS research, prevention, care, and treatment here at home.
This “would spell disaster,” says Christine Lubinski, executive director of the HIV Medicine Association.
Meanwhile, Bush proposes increasing funding for his abstinence-only programs, which are a proven failure.
The Bush budget is especially cruel to the poor.
Even with gas prices (and Exxon’s profits) sky high, he proposes shrinking the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program by 22 percent. “This would require cutting more than 1 million low-income families and elderly people off the program,” or reducing everyone’s assistance by 22 percent, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
As a result of his freezing of child care assistance, “200,000 fewer low-income families would receive federal child care assistance in 2009 than in 2007,” the center says.
And 100,000 more people would be deprived of Section 8 housing vouchers.
If you care about the environment, this budget will make you weep, as Bush would gouge the agency to the tune of $330 million.
His rationale for these cuts is that we can’t afford to spend all this money.
But this is at the same time that he throws hundreds of billions of dollars at the Pentagon and fattens the wallets of his richest friends.
“The top 1 percent of households—those with incomes exceeding $450,000 a year—would receive more than $1 trillion in tax cuts over the next ten years,” the center notes.
This isn’t about what we can afford, but what we choose to spend our money on.
It’s about who we favor, and who we burden.
We can spend our money on bombs and bullets, and we can spend it on tax breaks for the greedy and unneedy, or we can spend it on education, housing, HIV prevention, Medicare, Medicaid, child care, and the environment.
That should be an easy choice.