Bush Budgetary Shenanigans
The Washington Post reports (via MSNBC) some interesting information about the budget.
First, a big surprise. Let me imitate the Heritage foundation mouthpiece, "There is a massive budget shortfall, so we need to cut spending. Why oh why is there a budget shortfall?"
But the cuts are politically sensitive, targeting popular programs that Bush has been touting on the campaign trail. The Education Department; a nutrition program for women, infants and children; Head Start; and homeownership, job-training, medical research and science programs all face cuts in 2006.
Republican initiatives all, no doubt.
But the predictable "we made a tax cut and now we need to cut the budget" activities aren't the most disgusting part. That would be this:
The administration has widely touted a $1.7 billion increase in discretionary funding for the Education Department in its 2005 budget, but the 2006 guidance would pare that back by $1.5 billion. The Department of Veterans Affairs is scheduled to get a $519 million spending increase in 2005, to $29.7 billion, and a $910 million cut in 2006 that would bring its budget below the 2004 level.
The $78 million funding increase that Bush has touted for a homeownership program in 2005 would be nearly reversed in 2006 with a $53 million cut. National Institutes of Health spending would be cut 2.1 percent in 2006, to $28 billion, after a $764 million increase for 2005 that brought the NIH budget to $28.6 billion.
They are proposing to increase 2005 funding for all these agencies so that during the campaign they can shout "We are committed to these programs! Look, we increased funding." They get reelected, and then they slash the programs they touted during the campaign.