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Bush League

A Modest Roundup of (Im)pertinent Media about the Current Administration

"President's Budget Contains Larger Cuts in Domestic Discretionary Programs Than Has Been Reported." Gosh, it must have been an oversight: In issuing Bush's 2005 budget Feb. 2, the Office of Management and Budget left out his plans for the following four years. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Feb. 5), those plans call for big annual cuts in domestic discretionary programs, in areas such as health, education, low-income energy assistance and the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children -- cuts that would reach $50 billion annually by 2009. (Example: The number of children from low- and moderate-income families who receive child-care assistance would be cut by about 365,000 by 2009, the CBPP estimates.) The cuts would decimate even line items Bush claims he's raising this year. What's more, these draconian cuts will barely dent the budget deficit: The cumulative savings from all those domestic discretionary cuts combined "would be substantially less than the cost in those years of the income tax cuts just for the one percent of households with the highest incomes." (www.cbpp.org/2-5-04bud.htm)


"Faulty Intelligence My Eye." David Kay couldn't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But he was hardly the first. Writing for Alternet (Feb. 3), David Morris asks why we've forgotten that veteran U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter reported the same lack of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons back in 1998 -- and why we've developed amnesia too about the pressure the Bush White House has long placed upon the intelligence community to find information that conformed to its version of reality. (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17744)


"Bad Medicine." After you see the Bush Administration's $9.5 million TV ad campaign defending its new Medicare law, get a second opinion from Harper's Magazine (February). Writing with cogent outrage, Editor Lewis Lapham digs into a "reform" that, just for starters, not only forbids the government from negotiating bulk discounts on pharmaceuticals, but requires it to pay whatever price manufacturers ask -- a sure recipe for corporate looting and fiscal disaster. Lapham also identifies another little-noted abettor of "the river of public money flowing out of Washington into the privately owned catch basins of the medical-industrial complex": Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, whose father and brother started a company that for years engaged in high-return Medicare fraud, and who labored mightily to push Bush's new law through. (www.harpers.org)

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