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The New York Times and other news outlets report this morning that George Bush has finally heard the outcry from traditional budget hawks in the GOP and will focus on curbing the growth of federal government. Bush plans on building enforceable caps into the next budget, putting a leash on Congress to prevent additions to entitlement spending:
In his budget request to Congress, President Bush will try to impose firm, enforceable limits on the growth of federal benefit programs, and the chairmen of the Senate and House Budget Committees say they strongly supported that effort.
Administration officials and Congressional aides said Mr. Bush would also seek cuts in housing assistance for low-income families, freezes or slight increases in most domestic programs, and larger increases for domestic security. The spending plan for 2006, like the appropriations enacted for this year, would give priority to military operations and domestic security over social welfare programs.
In wartime, these should have been the spending priorities all along. However, Bush took the long view on his re-election and tried to build a record of being all things to all people in his first term. As the level of vitriol proved last year, that effort failed spectacularly. Now Bush has no more elections to win and one term left to make the US as secure and solvent as possible, and he appears to have taken that charge seriously after the election.
This effort will coincide nicely with Bush's proposed focus on Social Security reform, a topic that has unnerved Democrats so badly that they have reversed a two-decade course and now argue that Social Security needs no repair whatsoever. Bush has already targeted funding for several programs this year that he sees as non-essential:
National Science Foundation: 2% reduction
Housing vouchers: Proposed reduction in $6800 annual benefit
Termination of Commerce Dept's tech development program ($142M)
These, however, don't add up to much in the way of budget reductions. The GOP now talks about reviewing some of the bigger boondoggles in the federal repetoire, such as farm programs, Medicaid (which has increased a whopping 63% over the past five years), and even the President's own Medicare prescription-drug benefit. His campaign promoted the hell out of the new benefit, only to find out that the GOP base disliked it intensely, considering it an unconscionable expansion on an already bloated entitlement. While it won't disappear, the GOP would like stronger means-testing and more control over costs to keep it from ballooning larger than the original $400B estimate.
It looks like the president from Texas plans a sacred-cow barbecue in his second term. For those of us who stood, jaws agape, at the spending from a supposed conservative for four years, this sounds like a party to which I'd enjoy an invite.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Budget Controls From Bush? from Sha Ka Ree
Captain's Quarters It looks like the president from Texas plans a sacred-cow barbecue in his second term. For those of us who stood, jaws agape, at the spending from a supposed conservative for four years, this sounds like a party to which I'd enjoy an... [Read More]
Tracked on January 9, 2005 9:35 AM
» Poor in Crosshairs of Bush Budget from NathanNewman.org
Bush's first term was four years of fiscal irresponsibility, as highlighted by this graph: Having created this fiscal mess through... [Read More]
Tracked on January 9, 2005 11:20 AM
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