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February 08, 2005

Where is Tip O'Neill?

Bush is using the language of "eliminating reduncancy" but this Bush budget is about a Reaganesque assault on the poor and vulnerable. While Democratic leaders are condemning the budget, I wonder if they will be able to raise the alarm in the way Tip O'Neil did in the early 1980s.

We finally have Bush calling for sacrifice to fund his wars, although all the sacrifice is by the poor, while the wealthy are told their tax cuts are sacrosant, driving the deficit up $1.1 trillion over the next ten years and trillions more in following decades. But for poor communities, the cuts are substantial especially as they effect local budgets whose federal funding will decline sharply:

Under the President’s budget, grants to state and local governments for all programs other than Medicaid would decline by $10.7 billion or 4.5 percent from fiscal year 2005 to 2006, after adjusting for inflation...Grants for all programs other than Medicaid would be lower in 2006 as a percent of the economy than they were in 2001...If grants for all programs other than Medicaid for 2006 were at their 2001 level relative to the economy, they would be $31 billion higher than their proposed 2006 level.
Medicaid spending is going up because of inflation in the health industry, but actual care for those in need will be slashed in real terms. The budget proposes to reduce Medicaid funding by $45 billion over 10 years which will inevitably force states to eliminate coverage for a substantial number of low-income people.

This is an assault on the poor, pure and simple. We've seen the blogosphere rally around social security, but I wonder if this is the real "Plan B" by the White House: force progressives to invest all their energy defending Social Security, while they run a bulldozer through hundreds of government programs serving poor and urban communities.

Posted by Nathan at February 8, 2005 07:30 AM