"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Thursday, December 15, 2005

Forget cures for diseases, forget education. Dick Cheney needs his tax cut
Posted by Jill | 7:26 AM

Now we're starting to see the real price of tax cuts:

Congressional Republicans made progress on twin tracks Wednesday toward their end-of-year budget goals, passing a bill freezing or cutting back spending on medical research and education and nearing agreement on cuts to the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

The first measure, a $602 billion bill funding a wide variety of health, education and labor programs, passed the House on a 215-213 vote. It would cut federal aid to education for the first time in a decade, and spread about $1.4 billion in cuts across the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

The separate budget bill is a cornerstone of the Republican agenda in Congress, and the House and Senate continued to struggle to find a way to advance a Senate plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., signaled he may try to move the hotly contested oil drilling plan from the budget cut bill to the must-pass defense budget bill, setting up a major confrontation with Democrats and a likely filibuster. But because the bill will also carry new money for hurricane relief and to combat the avian flu, GOP leaders hoped they might be able to jam the measure through.

Official conference talks on the budget plan have yet to convene, but behind-the-scenes negotiations have produced a number of tentative agreements. Negotiators eased House-proposed cuts aimed at Medicaid beneficiaries, shifting more of the pain to drug companies. Negotiators also killed Senate-passed increases to the Pell Grant program and were likely to drop a House proposal to narrow eligibility for food stamps.

Republicans hope to produce more than $40 billion in deficit savings through the end of the decade, combining curbs to Medicaid, Medicare, and subsidies for farmers and student loans with revenues from leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and auctions of television airwaves to wireless companies.


The companion $602 billion spending measure covers education, health research, and medical and job training programs, among others. After years of budget increases, the measure essentially imposes a 1 percent cut to programs funded at lawmakers' discretion, providing $142.5 billion for them. The rest of the funding in the bill represents mandatory payments, chiefly for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The cuts in the bill, a compromise between very different House and Senate versions, would be magnified by an additional 1 percent across-the-board cut to all agency budgets that GOP leaders promise to pass before Congress adjourns. Taken together, about $3 billion worth of cuts would be spread across budgets for the departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.

Medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health — whose budget was doubled over recent years — would be frozen at last year's levels, which promises to limit the amount of new research projects.

Programs funded under President Bush's No Child Left Behind education law would face a 4 percent cut, while aid for special education and Title I funding for disadvantaged children would be frozen at last year's levels, assuming the across-the-board cut is imposed.

Now, the wingnuts will chime in that a freeze is not the same as a cut, but then these are the same people who claim that keeping taxes at current levels constitutes a tax hike, so this works both ways.

The NIH cuts are of particular concern to me, since my job relies on research grants, and as a 50-year-old Web developer, puts my future employability at stake. But in the larger picture, it's not fat that's being cut from the budget, it's muscle -- while the fat (pork) continues unabated.

The cuts in NCLB mean more unfunded mandates for the states which they will then funnel down to municipalities, which means higher property taxes.

The Republican agenda has never been more clear -- cut programs that help the poor, cut programs that benefit science and medicine, cut public education and funnel more money into Christofascist schools -- all so that the top 1% can shovel even more money into their pockets.
Bookmark and Share