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Friday, February 16, 2007

Does Dubya Hate our Troops?

Being that we are in the middle of a war, might be starting another one with Iran, have a President who is trying to send 21,500 more soldiers into the conflict, and on the horizon is an estimated 26% increase in the number of soldiers who will require on-going medical care when they return from the Middle East, I would have wagered that Bush’s "balanced budget by 2012" proposal would include huge increases in spending for the Veterans Affairs Administration. Given that there has been an 83% increase in VA spending over the course of the Bush Presidency, surely further increases had to be assumed when the Administration submitted their plan, right? The budget needs balancing, but I’m sure that cuts to things like NIH and NPR would be where this balance would happen. Bush would never cut something as near and dear to his heart (and ours) as funding for the welfare of our troops, would he? Yep, I was wrong.

The budget proposal that the Bush Administration submitted to Congress includes cuts to VA spending for 2009 and 2010, and then freezes the budget at the 2010 level until 2012.

Everybody seems to recognize that this will not work. Politicians on either side of the aisle have decried the proposal as “impossible” and “absurd” given the recent history of steady increases in VA spending (and the little problem of the influx of troops returning from
Iraq and Afghanistan). When questioned about the cuts, White House budget office spokesman Sean Kevelighan, said that the proposed numbers "don't reflect any policy decisions. We'll revisit them when we do the (future) budgets." (To be read: "Silly you, we made up those numbers on an Arby's napkin.")

There are two options here. A.) George W. Bush hates our troops. Or more likely, B.) The Bush Administration made up a plan to balance the budget that they know cannot succeed. I kind of like how they did it. I think I will make my next budget the same way. “Well, I have $10 in the bank. I’ll write down here on this budget sheet that I will use that $10 to buy a jetliner. Look! I bought a jetliner with $10! Hooray.” Oh, imagine the world we could live in if budgets were made with fantasy math and pixie dust and the government gave everybody an apple pie just for being American.

*Thanks to Jenny for the tip.

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Anonymous reebs said...

Ah, fun with the federal budget! I can't speak to the math that led them to those fantasy figures, but I can tell you for sure that the VA budget for medical and prosthetic research hasn't increased in a couple of years. And sadly, roadside bombs have made that kind of research more important than ever.

12:41 PM

Anonymous dr. bombay said...

It is in these situations that we can see the deep faith of the members of the administration shine through. To illustrate, a short scene from the Bombay Players:

Vet: I lost my leg. It got blown off by an IED.

Admin. Official: I believe in Jesus. Maybe he will help it spontaneously grown back.

The End

(Offstage, the sound of Dr. Bombay smashing his head against the wall repeatedly can be heard by the crowd)

12:56 PM

Anonymous Jono said...

Be afraid, because you've mentioned a subject I can rant about at some serious length. This administration has raised budgeting tomfoolery to an art form. My favorite example is how they manipulate the economic growth forecasts to suit their purpose. So, if they're trying to show how they'll balance the budget in 10 years, they assume white-hot economic growth that will bring in tons of tax revenue. But if they're trying to illustrate how "social security is bankrupt," they assume pathetically weak, anemic economic growth so social security contributions will appear much lower than reality. Its How to Lie With Statistics 101.

More relevantly, and more sadly, the Administration has been quietly figuring out ways to shaft our returning vets for a few years now. So while agency and department budgets havn't shown any huge cuts, the amount of aid and assistance an individual veteran is entitled to has been steadily shrinking.

1:10 PM

Anonymous dr. bombay said...

What never ceases to amaze me if the fact that they persist in this manner. It seems that nothing in the world can stay them from their appointed rounds of destruction.

1:15 PM

Blogger (A Little) Gris Gris said...

Only guessing here, but I betcha Karl Rove also mentioned one more thing to the Republican Women the other day at lunch. In addition to making sure his son never had to pick tomatos or clean rooms on the strip in Vegas, he also will not be joining the military any time soon. So much for public service.

Bombay - I can't hear the sound of your head smashing against a wall over the sound of my head smashing against a wall.

But, I have no fear. When Exxon/Mobil takes over America we'll have tons of money for all kinds of suspicious budgetary adventures.

1:44 PM

Anonymous Jono said...

Gris - I'm not so sure. ExxonMobil didn't become the most profitable company in US history by SPENDING money; they got that way by TAKING ours.

2:23 PM

Anonymous dr. bombay said...

Now now. They have a product, we have a need. I see nothing wrong with the free market. The fact that they ocasionally use the USMC as their collection agency is a side issue.

In the words of the great Marine Corps General, Smedly Butler:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested."

The more things change . . .

2:27 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

Wait...Exxon/Mobil is going to own us? Then why am I learning Mandarin? -lulu

2:36 PM

Anonymous reebs said...

Lu, it's important to learn madarin so that when we go to the panda preserve, you can say "Wo ker-yi baw shyong-mau ma?"

I heart Tai Shan.

2:54 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

Oh right! I'm learning for the pandas. Xie Xie Ni Reebs! - Lulu

3:05 PM

Anonymous Dr. Bombay said...

Also, you should remember that in the future, the Chinese will own Exxon, and probably the "Peoples Sytehtic Panda Concern" which will make Pandas as pets.

3:16 PM

Anonymous Jono said...

We are all aware that pandas don't actually, um, speak Chinese, right? Right? Hello?

Also, don't get too attached to Tai Shan. They'll be shipping his monochrome ass back to China once the lease is up.

3:56 PM

Blogger scooterlulu said...

A.) Pandas DO speak Chinese. How do you think their trainers tell them "Don't eat that! That's your baby!" B.) I suppose you actually meant monochromatic. The panda's ass is not made of monochrome, that would be impossible. I think. - lulu

4:31 PM


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