Monday, February 11, 2008

U.S. Federal Budget Proposal

I have shared the questions I would like to ask the current round of presidential hopefuls. These questions reveal my priorities. The 2009 budget proposed by President Bush reveals his.

Why is this on a blog about justice? I do not believe it is right to spend $650 billion on defense, more than the next 168 countries combined, while we continue to fail to support the Millenium Development Goals with our repeatedly promised .7% of GDP (.15% currently). We have the opportunity to help over a billion people gain access to food, water and housing, but instead we build tanks, missiles and machine guns. Are we any different from the Rich Man who neglected Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)?

Thumbs Up
  • Increases for abstinence education, Pell Grants for college students from low-income families and grants to school districts.
  • Almost $20 billion increase in State Children's Health Insurance Program over the next five years, still falling short of plans passed twice by Congress.
  • 10.3 percent increase (total of $22.7 billion) in foreign aid with increases for HIV/AIDS programs, anti-drug and -crime programs, development aid, and security packages. Some of these proposals are not my foreign aid priorities, and this is still FAR short of the .7% of GDP we have promised for meeting the Millenium Development Goals (The End of Poverty).

Thumbs Down

  • Additional $36 billion for defense, an increase of 8% to over $650 billion. This does not include additional funding ($70 billion) for the Iraq war. Read more about U.S. expenditures on the military here--military budget, world military spending, countries and military expenditures.
  • $18.2 billion cut in Medicaid, nation's single largest payer of children's health care for working families.
  • $700 million cut from discretionary health programs that children depend on, ranging from poison control hotlines to funding for training children's doctors.
  • Eliminates $283 million federal program to help make homes more energy efficient. Cuts energy aid to poor households by $500 million, a 22 percent drop.
  • Over $400 billion budget deficit.

It will be interesting to watch how the debate over the budget progresses. I do hope some priorities will be changed. Voices needed.


1 comment:

raintree's village said...

I read about the budget, and I want to eat chocolate. Seriously, we need to speak up about this, and do it every day until someone not only hears, but listens and heeds the will of the people. You know, I've been in discussions with those in the far right recently, and they actually oppose much needed social programs because 'I shouldn't have to give to the have nots', and 'whatever happened to personal responsibility', and 'If Jesus were here right now, he would practice tough love with the people who want to take advantage of these programs- and not pay their own way'. But bombing Iraq for eternity is perfectly fine.
It gets very tiring.