The President announced yesterday that he was cutting the budget for 2010 by about $17 billion, which is about .6%. Not much but a down payment on much more promised to come. Obviously, the Neocon Republicans will have their own ideas that will undoubtedly include: cuts in Medicare and Social Security, the Federal Drug Administration, HUD, and Education. Who needs education anyway…we’re already 32nd in the world behind someone like Botswana in our kids’ math scores. Of course, the expanded budget for education will attempt to make strong strides, as the new Secretary of Education has done in Chicago, against the difficult matter of improving overall learning processes.
The Obama budget for 2010 comes to roughly $3.5 trillion dollars. That is about $600 billion more than the last Bush budget. But part of the problem with that budget is that every department has to be shored up until we can get out of a deep recession. We just lost over 500,000 jobs to unemployment in April and our unemployment rate is now about 9% and our underemployed rate is at 15%. Staggering numbers from this time in 2008. The President has decided, and many people agree, that it is time to fix a lot of things that have been neglected over the last ten years, even perhaps more than 20 years. Some departments of government are so understaffed that they simply cannot function at all. This makes the Neocons happy. Their corporate CEO friends are getting rich while the people are starving.
A lot has been said from the Right Wing fringe about how much is wasteful and extravagant in the President’s budget at $3.5 trillion. But the last Bush Budget, the one that they projected for 2010, had Republicans been in the Presidency, was $3.091 trillion. The difference basically is this. President Obama has transferred much of the budgetary spending to things that must be done…public projects, education construction and modernizing, veterans, changes in our defense posture and improvements in food safety, veteran’s programs and low-income housing and low-income rental units.
The difference in both budgets from previous years is that in each there is an additional $700 billion already spent on the TARP, and another $800 billion spent on a stimulus program to restore employment for the 13.5 million people already out of work.These were both problems that were caused by incompetence, inattention, fraud, and a strong policy by the Bush Administration of deliberately allowing government to fall into disrepair. Their admitted idea was to make government inefficient so that the sheep who follow the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys and the Grover Norquists would say–see government doesn’t work, so let’s privatize everything.
Actually that has not worked out so well. Halliburton overcharged the military by hundreds of millions of dollars and accidentally killed 9 American soldiers through their simple incompetence. Halliburton and other contractors took huge multi-billion contracts from FEMA under Cheney and Bush. New Orleans has never been cleaned up and the mobile homes that should have been there are totally useless, sitting in Arkansas. Blackwater has cost billions more than our own soldiers would have cost us and now we have a 15, 000-man Neocon private army in North Carolina, Illinois and in California. Sometimes, more is less in the long run.
Breaking down the budget in broad strokes, this is how it is spent. Of the total, $664 billion goes to the military, about $620 billion to Social Security, $700 billion to Medicare and Medicaid, $250 billion to interest on the debt, and another $310 on miscellaneous mandated programs. Remember that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now both included in the budget figures, which they were not before.
So those are the biggest parts of the budget, parts which cannot be dumped. of the others, Education gets $49 million, Food and Drug Administration $3.2 billion, Environmental Protection Agency (to clean up all the bad water left by major corporations like EXXON/Mobil and GE, the friends of our Neocon Republican congressional members and President Bush.) $77 billion goes to Health and Human Services for the swine flu, for Native American Health Care which is in a shambles and other health-related issues. Homeland Security gets $43 billion, Justice Department $27 billion, HUD $48 billion, and the Department of Labor $13.3 billion.
Others are a hundred-billion here and a hundred-billion there and those can eventually be trimmed or eliminated. President Obama, in his first review, has had the budget cut by a very tiny $17 billion (.5), if you can imagine a billion being tiny. I suppose it was to show good faith with those Americans who are on the shelf about whether he is truly fiscally serious or a big-spender.
Many people who wandered around in the “tea parties” with racist and rude signs who knew nothing about what is going on in Washington but merely watch propaganda on Fox News would be surprised to find that they are receiving, in fact most already have recieved, a tax cut. They would also be surprised to know that there is a much better chance for a good life after this recession because of Obama’s infrastructure moves, better roads, public buildings, schools, re-training, and high-speed Internet access from everywhere than there was before we entered into this recession.
So there is hope. although probably not for the Limbaugh/Hannity Ditto-heads. You can’t plan for a lot of success based on “stupid.”