Friday, September 09, 2005

Shell Games

A very interesting piece of legislation is soon to be put forward by the Bush Administration. Legislation which, under the cover of Katrina, may not be as noticeable as it should be. The budget reconciliation process was meant to take place on September 16th, but probably will be pushed back towards the end of the month because of the disaster in New Orleans.

The budget reconciliation is supposed to be a way that we get a little closer to paying down the country's debts. Most people know that we're sitting on an enormous deficit at present, and that cuts in spending will have to take place in order to reduce some of that deficit. However, most people aren't aware of the giant shell game about to unfold in front of our very eyes.

Step right up and watch the lady....round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows.

Here's the deal. The government is going to announce the need to slash $35 billion from mandatory spending over the next five years. Mandatory spending, to you and I, means little programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Section 8 housing, Federal School Loans. You know...nothing really important. The types of programs that all of those extremely poor people in New Orleans who didn't have the means necessary to leave were reliant upon, along with a whole chunk of other Americans living below the poverty line.

The President is going to appear on our TV sets and let us know that these cuts are distasteful, and nasty, and he hates having to do it, but it's for the good of the country, and we need to reduce this deficit because we're paying a huge interest payment on it every month. Hey, it's a wartime economy and we all have to tighten our belts, right? Even those whose belts are cinched so tightly they don't have any holes left on the leather. They can just go ahead and punch in some more.

But here's the shell part.

For one of the first times in the 25 years we've been doing these budget reconciliations, the reconciliation package will be split into two parts. The first is going to be these cuts in mandatory spending. The second package is the one dealing with revenue from taxation. And why are they splitting it into two pieces? To disguise the fact that the first part - the cuts in spending which we're going to be told are necessary in order to reduce the deficit - will actually do absolutely NOTHING to reduce the deficit.

Why? Simple, my friends. The second part of the package deals with tax cuts. And slated in on that part of the budget are a whopping $70 billion in tax cuts over the next five years. And guess who most of this largesse is going to be aimed at? Half of the tax cuts are aimed at the 0.2 percent of households with income over $1 million. More than three quarters of these tax cuts - 78 percent - are going to the 3.3 percent of households with incomes over $200,000 per year. (From the Center on Budget and Policy )

Hands up all of you who can do math? If we lose $70 billion in revenue, and we add the $35 billion we're going to get by taking healthcare out of the reach of needy people, how much of the deficit do we actually pay off? Hmm....I get minus $35 million. Anybody else get a different answer?

So yet again, our caring and sharing Administration is showing its empathy and finer feelings for the low-income working poor by squeezing money out of them in order to finance another summer house for the rich. And the deficit, far from shrinking by $35 billion courtesy of taking away diabetes shots and heart medication is actually increasing by $35 billion courtesy of giving a $70 billion present to the high echelons of the populace who always vote Republican.

And the part which irritates me the most is the Administration's reliance on me having the attention span of a two year old. They think that by splitting this package and introducing the two sections a couple of weeks apart, that I won't realize what they're up to. One week I can be told that essential programs and services need to lose a huge chunk of money so that we can pay the deficit bill. Two weeks later they'll slide through the $70 billion in tax cuts to the rich, and I will just say....oh okay...guess you found money under your mattress or something. Cool!

Um...Mr. President? Why not just chop some of the costs of administering these mandatory programs, including some of the ridiculous costs Medicaid pays to healthcare providers, and save the $35 billion that way?'s something REALLY radical. Don't spend money we don't have on giving $70 billion in presents to your buddies!! That might work.

But hey....that would imply the existence of a heart and a brain. Two vital organs this Administration has shown over and over again it doesn't possess.

Step right the lady.


Blogger mikevotes said...

Brilliant Blogging!!!

Gonna link it out to the dozen or so at my blog.

11:25 AM  
Blogger mikevotes said...

Oh, and you can turn off the advertising comments by turning on word verification in blogger.

Blogger dash board - settings - comments - click the yes button on word verification.

It's also appearing as a help/question on my blogger dashboard.

Somebody told me to do this, cause I had been deleting them all by hand.


11:28 AM  
Blogger Rachie said...

Thanks Mike :)

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

I hope the republicans can work to improve our health care system. Health insurance is a major factor to my life.

11:36 AM  

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