Friday, February 10, 2006

Bush's Budget: War on Terrorism and War on the Poor

Perhaps the biggest announcement of Bush's State of the Union speech and the following media blitz was the president's new budget proposal for the upcoming year. In short, the proposal is morally reprehensible, suggesting cuts to every social program previously attacked in congress and many more including education, adult literacy, public housing, community policing, supplemental food for the elderly and the poor, vocational education, and a $36 billion dollar cut to medicare. While these cuts are ostensibly in response to "to an all-time high of $423 billion," according to CNN, this same budget calls for renewed tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, as well as a %7 percent increase in military spending and %8 increase in Homeland Security. Furthermore, the real military spending will be much higher because these costs do not take the real cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into account.

Robert Scheer offers an analysis in the San Francisco Chronicle that touched me personally because it reminds me of the outrage that initially got me interested in politics at the end of elementary school. How can a government with no conventional military enemies justify so much militarization at the cost of its vulnerable and marginalized communities in our own country. While Scheer argues that this is a "War on Terrorism, not on Poverty," it is perhaps more accurate to call this a "War on the Poor" as Paul Farmer suggests in his most recent book.

The criminal neglect that caused the horrors of Katrina and the daily horrors in places like West Baltimore will continue because of the criminal military aggression that has caused so much violence against the poor in Iraq and Haiti (and would have caused more in Venezuela had the coup there been successful).

The text of the budget is available online at and on the US Government's server

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