President Bush released his fiscal year 2008 national budget on February 5 and it will not surprise you that it continues the same policies that have led us to growing economic disparity in the U.S. It also adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the military budget, at a time when the vast majority of the American people want an end to the war in Iraq.
Each year the President’s budget is a proposal from the executive branch to launch Congressional debates and decisions on what will be included and what will be left out of the huge U.S. budget each year. This is a watershed year because some democrats in leadership of Congress will attempt to turn the huge ship around from its destructive course. Results will be mixed but it is still a time of possibility and hope.
The $2.9 trillion federal budget that the Bush administration introduced on February 5 continues the same course that we have been on since George Bush first became President. The basic dynamics are large increases in military spending, huge tax increases for the wealthy and large businesses, cuts in key social programs, and lots of debt.
According to Nancy Duff Campbell, the Co-President of The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), "The White House budget once again demonstrates that when it comes to the concerns of ordinary Americans, President Bush just doesn’t get it. True to form, the President’s budget calls on those who have the least to make the biggest sacrifices... It would make life tougher for women and families struggling to make ends meet. But when it comes to millionaires, the budget spares no expense," Campbell added. "These are not America’s priorities." (http://www.nwlc.org/details.cfm?id=2973§ion=newsroom)
Some of the most disturbing cuts that the Bush administration proposes are in children’s health care (the State Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, Head Start, child care, and education. The budget also cuts food aid to seniors, low-income energy assistance, housing programs, community block grants and community health programs.
The Bush budget proposes an additional $145 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the war costs are only part of the Pentagon's budget request, which is $481 billion above funding for the wars.
The tax cuts for the wealthy that have been a hallmark of the Bush approach to economics are slated to become permanent in his plan. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, "this would further widen the yawning gaps between the extremely wealthy and other Americans. It would essentially further enrich the most well-off at other Americans’ expense." (http://www.cbpp.org/2-5-07bud.htm) Center data shows that: People with incomes of more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging $162,000 a year (in 2012 dollars) in perpetuity.