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February 04, 2005

Bush's War on the Cities

It's not about Red versus Blue States-- it's about a war by Bush on Blue cities. You better believe that all the pork flowing to middle class suburban communities and fram subsidies flowing to rural agribusiness won't be hit hard by Bush's budget. But housing and economic development aid for the poor in cities?

Bush want[s] to consolidate 18 local assistance programs scattered among five departments into one new grant program, to be run by the Commerce Department.

The government is now spending more than $5.6 billion a year on the 18 programs, which include the Community Development Block Grant, a lifeline for many impoverished urban neighborhoods. For the new program, Mr. Bush will request $3.7 billion, a cut of about 33 percent.

Next up of course is slashing Medicaid, which the administration announced they wanted to cut by $60 billion in coming years.

The strategy is simple. Don't cut individual programs, where the harm would be most obvious. Consolidate programs into "block grants" where the harm has to be imposed by grantee cities-- shifting responsibility for individual cuts down to urban leaders.

Posted by Nathan at February 4, 2005 08:05 AM