Bush: $170,000,000,000 more for the war; Cuts to housing, education, health care, environment…

Since that surge is working so well, I guess we’re just going to have to keep surging. Forever. According to The Hill:

This year’s battle over Iraq war funding officially kicked off Wednesday as Defense Secretary Robert Gates reluctantly offered a price tag for the first time: $170 billion for fiscal 2009.

Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Gates only gave the number after Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pressed him, but rejected his own estimate right off the bat, calling it a number that “will inevitably be wrong, and perhaps significantly so.”

“I will be giving you precision without accuracy,” warned Gates.

Levin insisted that he give his best estimate for next year’s war-funding needs.

“Well, a straight-line projection, Mr. Chairman, of our current expenditures would probably put the full-year cost, in a strictly arithmetic approach, at about $170 billion,” Gates responded.

Of course, Gates made clear that the number could be wrong; and I’m guessing he didn’t mean wrong as in an overestimate. But the Administration is very conscious of the drain on our federal budget. Not the drain from the war, mind you, the other drain. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Bush wants to do something about it. Like slash and burn. You know- the low priority stuff.

President Bush plans to unveil a $2.5 trillion budget today eliminating dozens of politically sensitive domestic programs, including funding for education, environmental protection and business development, while proposing significant increases for the military and international spending, according to White House documents.

Overall, discretionary spending other than defense and homeland security would fall by nearly 1 percent, the first time in many years that funding for the major part of the budget controlled by Congress would actually go down in real terms, according to officials with access to the budget. The cuts are scattered across a wide swath of the government, affecting a cross-section of constituents, from migrant workers to train passengers to local police departments, according to officials who read portions of the documents to The Washington Post.

And one very important person is already on board.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I hope we in Congress will have the courage to support it.”

I’ve already written about Bush’s long-term plan to cut Medicare by $178 billion, and here are some actual numbers for the new planned cuts:

On the domestic side, according to documents, the budget would consolidate 18 community development block grant programs into one Commerce Department program for a savings of $1.8 billion. It would slice law enforcement grants to states from $2.8 billion to $1.5 billion. And it would cut 48 education programs totaling $4.3 billion, including $2.2 billion for high school programs, mostly state grants for vocational education.

The budget would cut $440 million in Safe and Drug-Free School grants, $500 million in education technology state grants, $225 million for the Even Start literacy program, $280 million for Upward Bound programs for inner-city youths and a $150 million talent research program, according to the documents.

The budget includes no subsidy for Amtrak and would eliminate $20 million for the next generation of high-speed rail and $250 million for railroad rehabilitation. Several Energy Department programs would be eliminated, as would $100 million in grants for land and water conservation. The budget proposal would cut $94 million in grants for the Healthy Communities Access Program and phase out rural health grants, the documents said. Bush touted his commitment to such programs during his reelection campaign. The president would terminate the Community Food and Nutrition Program, and cut a migrant and seasonal farm worker training program. He would renew his effort to cut a $143 million program for the removal of severely distressed housing.

Trivial programs, all. And costing but a drop in the bucket, compared to the war. It’s a question of priorities: help people, or kill them.

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  1. Does one give “precision without accuracy”?

    It isn’t like we have any problems with our transport infrastructure or anything that require massive infusions of cash. And anyway if people can’t travel on roads, that will be a great way to reduce consumer gas consumption.

  2. … for laying out the facts like this.  It is not a surprise yet still is so painful to see what Bush is doing.

    This misAdministration has already stolen so much from us.  Clearly they don’t know how to do anything else.

    And who will stop them?  We have eleven more months until January of 2009.  Eleven more months of this.  And the ones who suffer due to these cuts won’t be covered on the evening news or in the lamestream (h/t lasthorseman) media.  Because although it’s good that this gets reported at all, the consequences of these actions stays beneath the radar of most folks.

  3. http://www.backwardsbush.com/

  4. $170,000,000,000 for the war is “precise but inaccurate.”  Looks like 10 or 11 zeroes to me, depending on whether you believe the first number is a 1, 2 or 3.

    Meanwhile, while spending $170,000,000,000+ on the war, the Preznit and the LootersTM want to make the idiotic tax cuts permanent and don’t want to recoup the money from corporations.  So where, one might inquire, is this $170,000,000,000 and the additional estimated $2,500,000,000,000 for the budget (which doesn’t include war expenditures and has up to 12 zeroes) coming from?  And where is the additional “stimulus package” coming from?

    Are taxes going to be increased, or fees, or something?  Oh, no, of course not.  That would hinder growth.  We just spend and nobody has to pay for it.  Ever.  Because this is “supply side economics.”  No.  The US just puts it all on credit (US T bonds), and worries about the bill next month.

    Goddess in Heaven, I just love these “fiscal conservatives.”  They don’t believe in “tax and spend.”  Just spending and charging it.

    • Nordic on February 8, 2008 at 4:11 am

    not us.  I mean everybody accepts that this was nothing more than a grab for oil.  So why are we footing the bill?  

    Seriously, let the oil companies pay for it.  

    Why the HELL NOT?

  5. raise our Federal indebtedness to something like $9 trillion, $3 trillion (right now) owed to Saudi Arabia, China, and Japan.  Plus, Bush, when visiting King Abdullah recently, asked for billions to fund the US Treasury and Citibank and sold us off for $100 a barrol for crued, plus a cost of 7% interest to Citibank (owned by the King’s nephew) and 9% interest to Merrill, Lynch.  

    Now, with Bush’s proposed 2009 budget, it seems the agenda is already being set for the next Administration:

    . . . . A budget, after all, is a statement of values. Where your purse is so there is your heart, we are taught. The budget provides a snapshot of what the president considers to be national priorities. In his $3.1 trillion annual budget for FY 2009, with a deficit of $400 billion borrowed from the future, Bush tells us what is important.

    This nation now spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined. It is, the president tells us, not enough. This budget expands the Pentagon’s budget to levels, in inflation adjusted dollars, not seen since World War II. And that’s not counting the cost — now nearing a trillion and counting — of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .

    plus, in addition to our already existing maledies in this country, a host of more ills will beset us:

    . . . . This nation’s education system suffers a savage inequality. For much of America, we’re failing to provide even the basics of a world-class education — preschool, modern school facilities, small classes in early grades, afterschool programs, affordable college. This inequality, the president tells us, is not savage enough, so this budget cuts spending on education, removes 200,000 low income children from child care support, and does nothing to bring college within reach of working families.

    This nation’s health care system is broken. But it is, the president tells us, not broken enough. This budget would cut Medicaid, at the very time states are facing stark cutbacks to balance their budgets in a recession. It would reduce the number of children covered under the Children’s Health program. It would freeze payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare, and stunningly, cut support for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, even as a global economy puts us at greater risk of importing global pandemics. . . .

    and many more than just the ones quoted.

    My suspicion is that this money is already earmarked — Iran!  Plus the cutback of troops mentioned (or a seeming cutback) at the time mentioned in a link you have posted, seems to also tie-in to Iran!  

    The continual increases of the budget to the Pentagon is asinine!  To buy more nuclear missiles, drones, etc.  Certainly, to keep The Carlyle Group very happy, you know, United Defense, Lockheed, Martin and a host of defense manufacturers whose profits profit those involved with The Carlyle Group.  You know, the Bushies, Cheneys, Baker, etc.  The Pentagon needs this extra money like a hole in the head.  We have enough war power to blow the world up several times over.

    Impeachment is the only way to put a STOP to these psychos who will drive us completely in the ground in order to satisfy their aims and agenda.

    Thank you for this essay, Turkana — a very important one!  I’ve had it on my mind, as well, since finding out about Bush’s budget request — actually, I’ve been mortified at the mere thought of it.

     

  6. At 75, I am meditating on equanimity as I look at cuts to the programs I need.

    Between Bush’s $200 billion cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and Governor Schwartzenegger’s proposal to eliminate all funding for dental, hearing, vision and other needed programs, I am a trifle concerned.  

    Good time to try to practice Buddhist non-attachment as I contemplate a possible blind, deaf, toothless future.

    I’d love to get at one of the architects of this thinking, Grover Norquist.  No taxes Norquist.  The man who wants to shrink the government income till it can’t afford the welfare and entitlement programs.  The man who says he would like to shrink the government until he can drown it in a bathtub.

    Well I’d like to shrink Grover Norquist and his ilk till he is so small I could drown them in my Grandmother’s Silver Thimble!  

    OM MANI PEME HUM    …   May All Beings Benefit!

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