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Bush's Spending Priorities are a Threat
to US Democracy

Recently the Washington Post reported (1/24/02) that President George Bush seeks a $379 billion annual military budget, a huge increase from the already staggering $343 billion that it currently is. In the same issue, the Post reports that Bush also seeks a $38 billion Homeland Security budget, a doubling of the amount that this four-month-old agency currently spends. The Post also mentioned that an astonishing $4 trillion of Federal budget surpluses have vanished from the ledger from Bush's spending and that it took a single year for this to happen. Of that figure, $38 billion of lost revenue is attributed to Bush's upcoming tax cuts, which are designed to assist the wealthy 1% in this great time of need.

Bush's call for the insane $379 billion military budget comes on the heels of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's recent comments that the economy appears to be turning around. As always, Greenspan's comments rest on the faith that corporate profits will rise in 2002-and the mainstream media consistently approves of him making no assumptions about whether working people will also improve.

Bush has already offered a $15 billion bailout for the airline industry, while making no requests that their employees receive any protection from layoffs. Meanwhile, the Homeland Security budget does not include the estimated $50 billion that the CIA is expected to shortly receive annually. (By the way, the CIA is now officially allowed to conduct domestic spying as well as assassinate. It isn't hard to imagine that the new CIA will eventually resemble the KGB during its height of power.) Last but not least, Bush already has obtained a $8.3 billion down-payment on "Missile Defense" research, with no limit in future expenditures in sight.

Let's enumerate these recurring major funding priorities:

  1. $379 billion a year on "defense". (By the way, among many other groups the Libertarian CATO Institute believes the US could be adequately defended at $150 billion a year.)

  2. $38 billion a year on Homeland Security.

  3. An estimated $50 billion a year on a CIA now empowered to target US citizens, and which now has permission to assassinate.

  4. An estimated $38 billion a year lost from Bush's tax cut which predominantly benefits the wealthy 1%.

  5. $8.3 billion so far on "Missile Defense", a program that may ultimately cost hundreds of billions (and neither work or be necessary, the latter particularly in the post-9/11/01 world.)

None of these priorities contributes to democracy, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood the term. Like FDR, the President-installed is increasing government spending during an economic decline. However, unlike FDR Bush is doing so in a manner that benefits the least number of people. Throwing all this money away for double-billing military contractors and other government elites while it could be spent on jobs programs, prescription drug programs for all citizens, schools, libraries, public transportation and our infrastructure is incredibly shortsided.

The cruelty and insanity of Bush's spending priorities, particularly during this time of great need for many, approach Fascism in my view. Bush is trading our future away for high poll ratings today. Our civilization is being torn apart to benefit an untalented, undeserving, vicious maniac.

Scott Loughrey

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