E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Post:
As soon as President Bush announced his first spending package for reconstructing New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the Republican Study Committee and other conservatives switched the subject from poverty reduction to how Katrina reconstruction plans might increase the deficit that their own tax-cutting policies helped create.
Unwilling to freeze any of the tax cuts, these conservatives proposed cutting other spending to offset Katrina costs. The headlines focused on the seemingly easy calls on pork-barrel spending. But some of their biggest cuts were in health care programs, including Medicaid, and other spending for the poor.
Thus, the budget Congress is now considering would cut spending by $35 billion and cut taxes by $70 billion. Excuse me, but doesn’t this increase the deficit by a net of $35 billion?
- The Clinton economy…cut the number of poor people by 7.7 million between 1993 and 2000. Between 2001 and 2004, on the other hand, the number of those in poverty rose by 4.1 million. (my emphasis)
- The percentage of Americans getting private job-based health insurance fell from 63.6% in 2000 to 59.8% in 2004.
- The proportion insured under government programs — Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — rose from 10.6% in 2000 to 12.9% in 2004.
As more and more Americans become dependent on government healthcare, the compassionate boys of Washington slash healthcare benefits or increase enrollment eligibilities. Taxes are cut simultaneously and more no- bid government contracts are grasously rewarded to close friends or esteemed former colleagues. Meanwhile the Bush administration has its eye on three time proven objectives: expansion of the state sector of the economy, transfer of resources from poor to the rich, and a more "activist" foreign policy. Some things never change.