President Bush’s Budget – Money for Defense and Not Much Else

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bush-deficits-graphic.gif According to the Washington Post, the budget that President Bush is introducing today is set to “slow the growth of big federal health programs, reduce anti-terrorism grants for states and cities, and cut spending on anti-poverty, housing, and social service programs.” The early education program Even Start is going to be eliminated, and funding for education technology, programs for incarcerated youth, and college affordability measures are being stripped.

Medicare will see deep cuts. Poison control centers and rural health programs will be drastically reduced. The Community Services Block Grant, “a $654 million program that provides housing, nutrition, education and job services to low-income people,” will be cut completely.

Is President Bush finally embracing the fiscal conservativism that has been more myth than reality during his two terms?

Don’t be silly. The budget introduces “a flood of new red ink that will rival the record deficits of [Bush’s] first term.” The deficit will go from $163 billion in 2007 to about $400 billion in 2008 and 2009. So where is all the money going?

Well, there’s money for the economic stimulus package. And Bush did allow for a moderate (but still insufficient) expansion of the childrens’ health insurance program known as SCHIP that was the cause of so much controversy a few months back. There’s also more money for immigration enforcement and border security, part of a general bolstering of DHS. There is some extra money for the FDA.

But really the money is going into defense. The budget puts $70 billion toward Iraq and Afghanistan, part of the Pentagon’s overall annual budget of $515.4 billion. That means that annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will reach its highest level since World War II.

And the rest of the deficit is created by Bush’s old favorite, tax cuts for those who don’t need them. And there you have it: the President’s priorities in a nutshell.

For a very good in-depth breakdown, see the CBPP.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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