Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Trillion Is the New Billion

The New York Times has a nifty treemap to help us visualize Obama's 2011 budget proposal. I can't seem to hack that app onto my own blog, so you'll have to click that link to get a look at it. Green squares indicate an increase in spending for a function. Orange squares indicate a decrease in spending.

The 2011 budget is only $100 billion more than Bush's final budget. But here's the crazy thing I'm hearing from analysts: Obama's budget includes Iraq and Afghanistan war funding. Bush's budget did not. How the hell did Bush get away with that? Not including funding for wars that he knew would continue for another 5 or 10 years?

Bush funded the wars, as well as the prescription drug program, through $8 trillion in supplementals. These accounting tricks are not subject to the congressional oversight process. The Bush Administration claimed this was necessary because they could not predict the costs of a protracted war on terror. However, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) noted that "both the Korean and the Vietnam Wars were almost entirely financed through the regular appropriations process - not emergency supplementals."

On the campaign trail, Obama said he would end the abuse of supplemental budgets for war, and he is keeping that promise.

Anyway, back to the chart on NYT, did you notice what kind of funding has been decreased? Unemployment insurance programs, education for the disadvantaged, school improvement, Indian education, railroads, mass transit, Corps of Engineers, Federal Housing Administration loan programs, civil and criminal prosecution and representation, and space operations to name a few. It takes a mighty leap of logic to say President Obama is a socialist creating a welfare state.

Looks more like the US is equal parts welfare and warfare. We need to keep our debt in perspective. Some of our allies are in even worse debt traps. It's been going on for a long time. So when Republicans open their mouths to complain about this budget, we must realize it's all choreographed knee-jerking.

1 comment:

Trung said...

this is completely off topic, but did you know prior to billions and billions, carl sagan never said "billions and billions?" he mentions it in his book. people always thought he said billions and billions, so in order to appease people, he finally said "billions and billions." btw, universal healthcare!