BUSH’S BUDGETARY FOLLIES

George W has now submitted his budget to Congress, and it can be summed up by this lopsided score: Domestic needs, zero. The Pentagon, 515 billion.

George W has now submitted his budget to Congress, and it can be summed up by this lopsided score: Domestic needs, zero. The Pentagon, 515 billion.

Bush’s budget slashes health care programs, from Medicare to the medical needs of 9-11 rescue workers. He also makes drastic cuts in such other crucial efforts as the centers for disease control, low-income energy assistance, and family literacy. But he piles half-a-trillion bucks in the Pentagon’s vaults – and that does not included the money he’s throwing down the hell-hole of Iraq. Under Bush accounting rules, war costs are off budget, charged to the credit card of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren… and beyond.

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Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has calculated the total cost of just the first four years of George’s Iraq misadventure. Counting such deferred costs as interest on the war debt and long-term care for the wounded, the tab is $720 million per day.

The American Friends Service Committee has analyzed what else besides this misbegotten war America could buy with only one-day’s worth of the money we’re spending there. For $720 million we could:

• Provide health coverage for 424,000 children.
• Build 84 brand new schools.
• Buy school lunches for 1.2 million needy kids.
• Provide 6,482 units of affordable housing.
• Pay for renewable-energy electricity in 1.3 million homes.
• Pay the annual salaries of 12,500 new classroom teachers.
• Put 35,000 students through a 4-year state college.

Any of these could be had for just one day of war funding. This great country has the money to do what needs to be done – if only our “leaders” stop frittering it away on their ideological crusades.

“The Cost Of War,” www.afsc.org

“Bush’s Cruel Budget,” www.americanprogressaction.org , February 4, 2008

“Proposed Military Spending Is Highest Since WWII,” The New York Times, February 4, 2008

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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