Monday, December 27, 2004

Bend over, grandma

LA Times via Pandagon:

[. . .]

But the surpluses have turned into record deficits. President Bush is not about to take back his tax cuts, but in setting spending levels in the budget that he will deliver to Congress in the new year, he will single out a loser — perhaps several — for every winner.

[. . .]

But it is widely expected that, to help Bush keep his promise of cutting the deficit in half over five years, the budget will "maintain strict discipline," as the president said at a news conference last week.

Arguing that the costs are only vaguely known, budget writers may also decide not to include the outlays needed to cover the additional costs of the war in Iraq or the transition to proposed private Social Security accounts.

Interest groups know which programs are vulnerable to cuts — and are circling the wagons around them.

Medicare and Medicaid are prominent on Bush's likely hit list.

[. . .]

The ultimate losers, he said, would be the elderly insured by Medicare. Before Congress reversed the cuts scheduled for 2004 and 2005, he said, a survey showed that 24% of family doctors would stop taking new Medicare patients if the cuts held up.

[. . .]

The National Governors Assn. says state budgets are under siege even without more federal Medicaid cuts. The association's chairman and vice chairman, Govs. Mark R. Warner of Virginia and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, said last week in a letter to congressional leaders that it was "unacceptable in any deficit reduction strategy to simply shift federal costs to states, as Medicaid continues to impose severe strains on state budgets."

[. . .]

This will be just like No Child Left Behind. Cut the federal budget by shifting the tax burden to the states. NCLB has raised some folks' property taxes around here by 45%. How much you figure this 'budget discipline' will cost us? Thanks for that $300 a couple years ago, (p)resident Dicknose. I really needed that 'tax cut'.

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