February 4, 2004

Guns And Guns And Guns And Guns And Guns And Guns And Butter

The wackiest part of Bush’s budget–and something that few of the major media seemed to call him on–was his circumvention of what a budget is.

If you happened to notice, the President provided a detailed, itemized proposal to spend $2.4 trillion dollars. Then separately, he added his intention to spend an additional $50 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Isn’t a budget defined as an accounting, all in one place, of everything you plan to spend? (Personally, I don’t ever remember going to the grocery store, having the cashier quote me a final sale, and then being told that the cookies and the bananas were going to cost extra.)

However, I think I understand what’s behind this “piece-meal” strategy: The reason is, the entire budget this year is going to defense:

The 7% Defense Department increase is defense. The extra $6 billion for Homeland Security is defense. The boost for the Justice Department is defense. The 6% NASA increase is defense. The defense of marriage act is defense. (And what about the extra $60 million to the FDA? It’s to protect the safety of the food supply.)

I guess, when you break it down, apocalyptic paranoia can get pretty expensive.


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Michael Shaw
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