02/14/2005: Timberrrrrrr..Bush Plans to Axe the 2006 Budget And Social Security
Here's a short list of major Buget cuts written by David Corn in Capital Games published in The Nation:
* Environment. Cuts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget by 5.6 percent from $8.02 billion to $7.57 billion, culminating in an almost 10 percent cut over two years. Most cuts come in efforts to maintain and improve the nation's clean water infrastructure.
* Veterans. More than doubles the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using the Veterans health care system.
* Health Care. Cuts Medicaid funding by $45 billion over 10 years and eliminates 28 health programs, totaling $1.36 billion. These programs range from rural hospital grants (cuts $39.5 million) to emergency medical services for children (cuts $20 million).
* Job Training. Cuts federal spending on job training by a half-billion dollars. Federal job training programs, including dislocated-worker training, will be cut by $200 million. Federal aid to states for job training, including funding to train veterans, will be cut by $300 million.
* Amtrak. Eliminates all funding for Amtrak, calling bankruptcy proceedings as the solution for our nation's rail system.
* Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP). Cuts LIHEAP by over 8 percent, from $2.2 billion to $2 billion.
* Parks. Cuts the National Park Service by 3 percent from $2.31 billion to $2.24 billion.
For more articles and reviews about the proposed U.S. Budget and Social Security Plans click on the "more" button.
The following statement was released today by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) regarding the Fiscal Year 2006 Federal Budget Proposal
"When the president first took office, he promised federal education budgets that would provide adequate levels of education funding to strengthen America's schools and thus America's future. Unfortunately, we once again find ourselves involved in a shell game with federal resources that if appropriately allocated would significantly improve the academic and future well-being of nation's youth.
High deficits and high expenditures in non-discretionary areas of the budget sorely limit the federal investment made in discretionary areas such as public education. For certain, tough decisions must be made and priorities determined in order to move the country forward, but this should not be done in a vacuum or with a myopic viewpoint. Far too often, discretionary spending in areas such as education or health is seen as a great and sometimes unnecessary expense rather than the investment it truly is for this country. Addressing the social, academic, and health needs of our citizens-particularly our youth-will go a long way toward safe-guarding the economic and physical well-being of the United States. The President's budget proposal should responsibly reflect such an investment goal. NASSP looks forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress to ensure that the needs of the nation's middle level and high school students are met."
President Bush's funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs received strong criticism from the commander of one of America's foremost veterans service organizations."VA's budget recommendation is woefully inadequate, and I am deeply disappointed," said AMVETS National Commander.
"The leader went on to say that "the federal government has already closed access to medical care for tens of thousands of eligible veterans and now the administration wants to push another 215,000 former servicemembers out of the very system designed for their care."When stripped of the proposed new "user tax" and "increased copay," which would come directly from the wallets of veterans, the budget recommendation presents a paltry one-half of one percent increase above last year's funding-$111.2 million-not even enough to cover the president's projected federal pay raise for the medical staff that provides the health care needs of America's veterans."
The Disabled American Vets had this to say about the Bush plans:
"The Administration has proposed one of the most tight-fisted, miserly budgets for veterans programs in recent memory, said the 1.2 million member Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Instead of providing adequate funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system, the budget proposes to shift the cost burden onto the backs of veterans, making health care more expensive and even less accessible for millions of America's defenders."
Paul Krugman (NY Times columnist and Princeton Economist) had this to say in his article Ownership Society v Responsibility
"All of this explains why it's foolish to imagine some sort of widely acceptable compromise with Mr. Bush about Social Security. Moderates and liberals want to preserve the America F.D.R. built. Mr. Bush and the ideological movement he leads, although they may use F.D.R.'s image in ads, want to destroy it. "
This article Ownership Society vs. Social Responsibility from the February edition of The Christian Science Monitor (written by Dante Chinni) had this to say:
"You aren't a fan of the "ownership society"? Why do you hate freedom?But on the way to a brighter, better, more individually owned America there are a few sticky questions. Exactly how would the president's plan work? Where could the individual account owners place the money? How would this solve the long-term money problems with Social Security? And, the always complicated, how would the country pay for it?The answers (in order): We'll get back to you. That's still to be determined. It wouldn't. And, who knows?
OK, so the plan isn't going to make anyone rich - except maybe stockbrokers and money managers (who, by the way, are the big winners under a similar system in place in Britain for 17 years). But it will at least solve Social Security's long-term problems, right?Actually, no. The administration has quietly acknowledged that the individual accounts won't make the system more financially solid. To do that, guaranteed benefits would have to be reduced or the retirement age would need to be raised, as, probably, would the amount of income taxed...."
Karen on 02.14.05 @ 05:26 AM CST