Feb 4, 2008
While the news media and politicians talk endlessly about the so-called economic stimulus program that they say will give most workers a great big $500 or $600, Bush has presented his new budget for 2009. There are no big surprises. The top priority is to stimulate the profits and fortunes of big business and the wealthy, by quietly handing over enormous sums. Top priority: military contractors! Next priority: Wall Street financiers! Top priority to be robbed: workers, the unemployed, and the poor.
Of course, the lion’s share of the budget goes to the military. The new Bush budget proposes 572 billion dollars in regular military expenses, plus, as usual, hundreds of billions more to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is nothing but a great big subsidy to the biggest U.S. companies. Blood money.
Paying interest on the national debt is budgeted at 234 billion – a sum half as large as for the entire military side. Who receives the lion’s share of this interest? The wealthy, of course.
In the face of this enormous spending, the Bush administration has the nerve to claim that “entitlements” – for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – are the budget-breakers! To help push this lie, Social Security payments are included in the Bush budget as an “expense.” But they are actually paid from the separate Social Security trust fund, which is running a large surplus.
Medicare is also no “drain” unless, like Bush, you don’t count the FICA taxes that workers pay in, and the Medicare Part B premiums that retirees pay in.
Bush’s proposal cuts 1.2 billion dollars from Medicaid and begins a five-year program to slash Medicare by 83 billion. If these cuts go through, how many will be sentenced to needless pain and premature death?
With unemployment skyrocketing upward, working people need millions of new jobs, at wages high enough for workers to live decently and buy what their families need. But every billion given to the war profiteers means, for example, 20,000 fewer public school teachers hired, or 10,000 public health doctors not hired.
The kind of economic stimulus budget we need won’t come out of Washington D.C. – until the population leaves it no other choice.