Smoke Screen Budget Battles


by Chaplain Kathie

It has been nearly impossible to comprehend where these sudden concerns about the deficit came from. Why? Because the people doing the most complaining were in charge when it all happened.

February 3, 2008
Updated: February 11, 2008
During the Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced? Was the federal deficit erased?

Yes to both questions, whether you count Social Security or not.
This chart, based on historical figures from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, shows the total deficit or surplus for each fiscal year from 1990 through 2006. Keep in mind that fiscal years begin Oct. 1, so the first year that can be counted as a Clinton year is fiscal 1994. The appropriations bills for fiscal years 1990 through 1993 were signed by Bill Clinton’s predecessor, George H.W. Bush. Fiscal 2002 is the first for which President George W. Bush signed the appropriations bills, and the first to show the effect of his tax cuts.

The Clinton years showed the effects of a large tax increase that Clinton pushed through in his first year, and that Republicans incorrectly claim is the “largest tax increase in history.” It fell almost exclusively on upper-income taxpayers. Clinton’s fiscal 1994 budget also contained some spending restraints. An equally if not more powerful influence was the booming economy and huge gains in the stock markets, the so-called dot-com bubble, which brought in hundreds of millions in unanticipated tax revenue from taxes on capital gains and rising salaries.
Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced

The economy was good during the Clinton years so when the GOP wanted to take control, they went after our personal lives, including the President’s personal life. It was all about morals and family values.

Public opinion went the other way and wanted government out of our personal lives, including Clinton’s.

They kept it up by going after gay people. Again, public opinion went the other way. They lost that battle too.

With Bush and 9-11, it was then all about security and no money was too much to spend on defense contractors. They used our emotional ties to the troops to get all the money they wanted to spend, but as we can see now, they didn’t care about where the money went.

Big Bucks, Little Oversight, Big Trouble
Posted by Mark Thompson Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Much of the billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers are spending rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq is likely being wasted because no one is ensuring the contractors involved are doing a good job. That’s the bottom line in Monday’s report from the congressionally-mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read more:
Big Bucks, Little Oversight, Big Trouble

When the economy suffered, first they blamed 9-11, told citizens to just go shopping to help the economy, but never once thought about what they needed to do to fix the problems other than tax breaks for the rich. It was never about asking us to do anything to really support the troops anymore than it was about paying for the wars they thought were all so important to fight. Tax cuts for the rich kept going on no matter what was being done. No one in the GOP said they needed to pay for Iraq or Afghanistan. Borrowing money was fine with them. That is, until the troops were coming home wounded and the VA budget was nowhere near where it should have been.

While Democrats lacked control, they tried to get the GOP to pay attention to all of this, but they said they couldn’t afford to increase the VA because there were two wars to “pay for” and not enough money to go around.

Again, as we can see in the chart, paying contractors was another story.

US Federal Budget

$68.4 billion (2.62%) – Veterans’ benefits 2006
$72.6 billion (+5.8%) – Veterans’ benefits 2007
$39.4 billion (+18.7%) – Department of Veterans Affairs 2008
$44.8 billion – United States Department of Veterans Affairs 2009
$52.5 billion (+10.3%) – Department of Veterans Affairs 2010

With two wars producing more veterans and disabled veterans, they let the budget drop instead of increase. With more older veterans needing to be taken care of, they didn’t think about them either.

Now we have these same people saying that we cannot pass on this debt to our kids years from now at the same time they want to take food and shelter away from families today. It is almost as if they want us to believe they just got to Washington and had nothing to do with anything.
THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi Klein hit the nail on the head and this is all about causing fear to take control and get rid of what they don’t want. It’s all a smoke screen.

They hate unions, so they claim they cannot afford honor the contracts but they could afford to give contractors anything they wanted, then played deaf, dumb and blind to where the money went. At the same time, they managed to put all the blame on Obama when it came to the huge deficit at the same time they hide the fact that Iraq and Afghanistan were never part of the budget but Obama put them in saying they were important enough to include in it. Bush and the GOP never put them in the budgets managing to just keep doing Supplemental Requests.

Bush to ask Congress for $75 billion for war
Supplemental budget request sure to stir debate about requested tax cuts
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Sun National Staff
March 25, 2003
WASHINGTON – President Bush plans to formally ask Congress today for $75 billion in additional money to pay for the war in Iraq for the next six months, as well as for the first stages of reconstruction after the war and for enhanced security at home.

At a White House meeting yesterday, Bush asked senior lawmakers to quickly pass the measure, which includes $63 billion for military operations in Iraq, without adding any money for their own priorities.

The measure also contains $8 billion for international operations, including aid to U.S. partners for war-related costs, and about $3.5 billion for homeland security, a senior administration official said.

Bremer Again Makes Case for Bush Supplemental Request
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2003 – The $20 billion reconstruction portion of President Bush’s $87 billion supplemental for Iraq is “an important part of the war against terrorism in Iraq,” Ambassador L. Paul Bremer said at the Pentagon today.

Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator in Iraq, said during a press conference that without the $20 billion – earmarked for reconstruction efforts – there is a “very real risk, indeed a likelihood, that Iraq will … become the kind of breeding ground for terrorism that we’ve seen in the last 20 years.”

The money is part of an integrated budget request. The rest of the money would go to the Defense Department and fund on-going operations in Iraq.

Bremer said the $20 billion is all the authority will ask for in terms of a supplemental this year. “If there are additional needs, it will be done through the regular appropriation process when the (fiscal) 2005 budget is submitted to the Hill,” he said. “We do not believe that there is anything like this kind of request that is needed again. This is what we think we will need for fiscal 2004.”

Bremer also spoke about political developments in Iraq. He said the United States is as interested as the Iraqis in seeing “a coherent reasonable process to get back to a sovereign Iraqi government as quickly as that can be done.”

The long pole in the tent is organizing a constitutional conference and writing a constitution. He said once a constitutional conference is agreed upon and the players meet that six months is a “reasonable time” for them to write the document. The United States is not setting any deadlines, Bremer said.

The Iraqi Governing Council appointed a preparatory committee to examine how to convene a constitutional conference. That committee is due to report back to the council by Sept. 30, Bremer said. “We obviously would like them to move right along,” the ambassador said. “We are not standing in the way of a rapid return to sovereignty to the Iraqi government, provided it is done in a reasonable and politically sensible way.”

Bremer tried to forecast Iraq’s budget for calendar year 2005. He said the authority expects Iraqi oil production to match the prewar maximum of 3 million barrels a day by October 2004. The cost of running Iraq is about $15 billion per year. Oil and tax revenues should bring in about $20 billion per year. The excess could be used for long-term infrastructure repairs, he said.

Bush Signs War Supplemental, Cements Fiscal Legacy
Posted on July 8, 2008

Contrary to his assertion that he would “not accept a supplemental over $108 billion,” President Bush signed a $257 billion war supplemental spending package on June 30. The bill will fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of the fiscal year (ending Sept. 30) and through the first several months of the next president’s term. In addition to war appropriations, the quarter-trillion dollar measure includes funds for a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits; expansion of the GI bill; aid for Midwest flooding victims; and a collection of various domestic, non-defense discretionary programs. (For a more detailed breakdown of the various components of the bill, read our June 24 Watcher article on the war supplemental). The supplemental package also blocks a set of new administration Medicaid rules that would cut funding to states for the low-income health care program.

But this is how they decided to do whatever they wanted to do and now they pretend they had no part in any of it at all. Now it’s ok to go after veterans and take away what little they have instead of giving them all they need. Now it’s ok to go after homeless veterans they didn’t think about in the first place before they became homeless. They find nothing to be ashamed of at all.

Teachers in Rhode Island were fired so they could do what they wanted for the next school year. They claim they cannot afford to pay for them anymore, all of a sudden. The problems in Wisconsin along the same lines, no money all of a sudden. What they don’t tell you is that when they were given stimulus money, they, along with other states, didn’t spend the money to help their own economy. If they don’t spend it, they get to use the bad economy to kill off any program they don’t want to do. Look like veterans have one more program they don’t want to fund either. If they make the VA fail, they get to turn it over to private companies and then pay them the money to run veterans healthcare. If they make sure the programs for homeless veterans are not funded, then they let the states deal with the “problem” of veterans coming home unable to take care of themselves.

All of this wouldn’t be as bad as it is had they not been saying at the same time they need tax breaks for the rich. That was the biggest slap in the face to veterans there ever could have been.


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