Outrage Fatigue

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Economy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

It’s almost hard for me to get angry at the Bush White House anymore. The parade of lies and obfuscations over the past few months has left me so jaded-exhausted that each new piece of offensive news relating to the Bush Administration is greeted by me with ho-hum-so-what-else-is-new ennui, rather than the indignation it properly reserves.

Here’s the latest in the series as reported in WaPo:

The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year.

So heads up, folks. Bush is going to run on all these wonderful programs he’s funding for 2005. What he’s not telling you is that he’s already intending to cut them back in 2006 after he is (he hopes) elected. For example:

The administration has widely touted a $1.7 billion increase in discretionary funding for the Education Department in its 2005 budget, but the 2006 guidance would pare that back by $1.5 billion. The Department of Veterans Affairs is scheduled to get a $519 million spending increase in 2005, to $29.7 billion, and a $910 million cut in 2006 that would bring its budget below the 2004 level.

The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program was funded at $4.7 billion for the fiscal year beginning in October, enough to serve the 7.9 million people expected to be eligible. But in 2006, the program would be cut by $122 million. Head Start, the early-childhood education program for the poor, would lose $177 million, or 2.5 percent of its budget, in fiscal 2006.

The $78 million funding increase that Bush has touted for a homeownership program in 2005 would be nearly reversed in 2006 with a $53 million cut. National Institutes of Health spending would be cut 2.1 percent in 2006, to $28 billion, after a $764 million increase for 2005 that brought the NIH budget to $28.6 billion.

I don’t mind the cuts. We have a deficit, and we need cuts (as well as tax increases). But the election-year bait-and-switch is so transparent and, well, outrageous. If I could be feel outrage, that is.