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Bush Budget A Joke?


(President Bush enjoys coffee and a laugh with Gen. Peter Pace.  Photo by REUTERS/Kevin LeMarque.)

Here's an interesting question:  George Bush's Administration just submitted their budget recommendations to Congress.  But they fail to include all of the military spending in the current budget requests, leaving a whole lot out of the official budget calculation for emergency supplementals.

The proposed basic budget for the Defense Department is $481.1 billion, a 62 percent increase over 2001, Mr. Bush’s first year as president, and an increase of $49 billion over what Congress provided for this fiscal year. But the figure does not include more than $93 billion in supplemental money in this fiscal year and about $145 billion in the next fiscal year for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

Why leave this out? Cooking the books, are we?  Ezra Klein sure thinks so.

Maybe it's just me, but I sure would like to see a whole lot of members of Congress asking just why it is that the Bush Administration continually leaves these expenditures off the books.  because defrauding the American public with a false budget is…well, it's lying.  And isn't it well past time that we called George on this.  If not, the joke isn't just on us, it's on all of our children and grandchildren, too, in the form of an increasing deficit and lots and lots of foreign loan markers.  Just how does that make us safer or more fiscally secure, again?

The time for accountability is now.  You want to know just how far off the mark the Bush budget proposal is?  Take a peek at this from the National Journal.  And prepare to be royally pissed.

…It is also unthinkable that the Bush administration does not intend to fully fund the cost of activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, in light of the statements the White House has made in recent weeks excoriating anyone who dared to have such thoughts, no one should assume the president won't be first in line to make sure the additional spending is provided.

However, the FY08 Bush budget only includes a $50 billion placeholder for Iraq and Afghanistan in FY09 and nothing for FY10 through FY12. The White House has already made it clear that additional spending will likely be required.

For that matter, the administration has also indicated that the $145 billion it has proposed for Iraq and Afghanistan in FY08 might not be enough.

There is no legitimate excuse for these two major initiatives being excluded in the FY08 Bush budget. The White House line that it wants to deal with the AMT as part of a comprehensive tax-reform package simply doesn't work when you consider that the administration knows the AMT will be changed and almost certainly supports that happening.

The same is true for Iraq and Afghanistan. The failure to include anything more than a placeholder for FY09 doesn't pass the sniff test when you realize that other budget initiatives with equally questionable outcomes are displayed for the full five-year period between FY08 and FY12.

It's not hard to figure out why these two proposals are not fully reflected in the Bush FY08 budget: doing so would increase the projected deficit and make it impossible for the White House to seemingly balance the budget. It would also not allow the administration to claim its budget reduces the deficit every year….

It's the Enron Federal Budget process — bilking the public and lying to them at the same time. Welcome to Bushworld, where everyone but the cronies gets screwed.   And, even worse, as Deborah Solomon points out in the WSJ, the thing on which the Bush budget most relies:  hoping for a lot of luck.  Wait, isn't that our policy in Iraq, too?  Oversight, anyone? 

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com