Where’s the outrage? Every week jobs are lost or sent out of the country while corporations are allowed to escape taxes by setting up shadow headquarters in Bermuda or The Cayman Islands. As the national debt rises and outlays for the war and disaster relief continue, how does the Republican leadership propose to ameliorate its profligate spending on pork-laden legislation, no-bid contracts and funds unaccounted for and disappeared in the morass that is Iraq?
Instead of rolling back tax breaks for the very wealthy, they submit proposals to cut or eliminate programs that in many cases serve the needy or weaken programs designed to respond to the national priorities of education and conservation. For starters they suggest: delaying the implementation of the Medicare prescription drug plan (that legislation Republicans steamrolled into existence), increasing co-pays for Medicaid recipients, eliminating subsidized loans for graduate students, repealing the Highway bill “earmarks” (which would eliminate funding for such things as that “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska – – one of the worthy proposals in the measure.) Also proposed are the “leveling” or freezing of outlays for The Peace Corps and The Global Aids Initiative.
Earmarked for elimination – – The National Foundation Math and Science Program, Subsidies for Amtrak, The Minority Business Development Agency, The Even Start Program (for parents who didn’t finish high school), school lunches for students above 350% of poverty (this may sound reasonable but with the poverty level as low as it is, these are not well-heeled students), presidential election campaign funds, funding for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (a favorite whipping boy of the Republican leadership), the legal services corporation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Centers for Disease Control (a particularly ill-timed proposal), The Applied Research and Renewable Energy Sources Program, described in the proposal as “not necessarily a proper role for the federal government.”
There are dozens of other proposed reductions, eliminations or levelings. Not all are ill-conceived but, as one can see from this short list, many are simply reductions in programs that represent long-held Republican pet peeves. According to the “House Budget Options” many of the programs are “duplicative”, could be privately financed or handled more efficiently at the state and local level – – just some of the “tough choices” the government with the support of the American people must make according to the bill’s sponsors.
But hasn’t anyone noticed that states are already strapped with very few methods of raising revenue other than property or sales taxes? Hasn’t it become apparent that when the federal government reduces individual tax liabilities and cuts funding for social programs, localities must find new sources of revenue to meet their needs, usually in the form of increased taxes for residents? Who are the winners?
How about making a tough choice to wend our way out of Iraq by speeding up the training of Iraqi military forces in carefully monitored programs? Take enlistees out of harm’s way temporarily for training purposes, find some of those former soldiers Bremer so quickly dispersed and do whatever it takes to restore order in the land. In short rehabilitate the haphazard, irresponsible approach this administration has taken from the outset.
It’s true we made a mess over there and we should clean it up, but somehow by overlooking our own problems and ignoring the needs of ordinary Americans we are making a mess over here.

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