Alex's Outlook

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Oh boy. Bush proposes a $470 million hike in NASA's budget.

It's nice to see Bush slashing taxes, hiking defense spending, pushing Medicare reform, etc. But where has Bush been on the explosion of the government budget?? MIA? No, he's on the front lines - of the other side! One would have thought the Columbia disaster was the final nail in the coffin of a space program that serves no purpose. Shuttles exist merely to supply astronauts on space stations; space stations exist merely to hold astronauts until shuttles pick them up. Very little scientific work is accomplished, and if it's worth the cost then the private sector can judge much better than the government. Bush could have used this to stealthily eviscerate the NASA budget, but he apparently prefers to pose as a Compassionate Conservative and throw away a few more taxpayer millions. Let's see...Reagan slashed taxes, but he also slashed domestic programs (government spending even went down for one year); Roosevelt slashed domestic programs 40 percent during WW2. Even if you accept the argument that tax-cutting boosts revenues in the short run, Bush is still fighting a worldwide war, beginning to overhaul Social Security and Medicare ($29 trillion total unpaid liability), weathering the devastating effects of the corporate scandals, and porking out domestically. Government spending rose some 15 percent from 2001-2, and will rise another 4 percent in 2002-3. While Bush managed to significantly slow spending growth this year (he had Congress hold off more than $200 billion in proposed Democratic spending), Clinton never raised government spending by 4% in one year, let alone 15%. Bush whines that 9/11 accounted for the explosion in spending, but defense only accounted for 21 percent of the spending growth from 2001-2. Discretionary spending went way out of control and Bush knows it.

Bush has been a great President, but he's spending way too much money. If Clinton had hiked spending 15 percent in one year and 4 percent the next, the Republicans would have probably shot him on the spot. Sometimes it seems like Nelson Rockefeller's big-government GOP ghost never died after all.


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