More creeping dishonesty from the Bush Administration:
The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year.
Administration officials had dismissed the significance of the proposed cuts when they surfaced in February as part of an internal White House budget office computer printout. At the time, officials said the cuts were based on a formula and did not accurately reflect administration policy. But a May 19 White House budget memorandum obtained by The Washington Post said that agencies should assume the spending levels in that printout when they prepare their fiscal 2006 budgets this summer.
“Assume accounts are funded at the 2006 level specified in the 2005 Budget database,” the memo informs federal program associate directors and their deputies. “If you propose to increase funding above that level for any account, it must be offset within your agency by proposing to decrease funding below that level in other accounts.” …
[T]he cuts are politically sensitive, targeting popular programs that Bush has been touting on the campaign trail. The Education Department; a nutrition program for women, infants and children; Head Start; and homeownership, job-training, medical research and science programs all face cuts in 2006.
“Despite [administration] denials, this memorandum confirms what we suspected all along,” said Thomas S. Kahn, Democratic staff director on the House Budget Committee. “Next February, the administration plans to propose spending cuts in key government services to pay for oversized tax cuts.”
Naturally, the administration denies that the memo means what it says. An OMB spokesman says the it is a “routine ‘process document’ … In no way should it be interpreted as a final policy decision, or even a planning document, he said.” Uh-huh. Riiiiight. (The Bush Administration’s stated intention to propose massive post-election spending cuts is neither a statement, nor an intention, nor a proposal. Discuss.)
Conservative think-tank budget analyst Brian M. Riedl says such cuts are “unavoidable”:
Federal agencies’ discretionary spending has risen 39 percent in the past three years. “I think the public is ready for spending cuts,” Riedl said. “Not only does the public understand there’s a lot of waste in the federal budget, but the public is ready to make sacrifices during the war on terror.”
Riedl may be right — although he fails to mention that another plausible “sacrifice during the war on terror” would be repealing at least some of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy — but that’s not the point. The point is, good policy or not, it is incredibly dishonest to specifically plan post-election actions that blatantly contradict the platform you’re campaigning on. At least when Bush’s father said “read my lips, no new taxes,” he probably meant it; he failed to follow through on it, but at least his intentions were good. Shrub, on the other hand, is just a bald-faced liar. This level of shamelessness would make Bill Clinton blush.
Bah. Vote Kerry for President. And let the comment-war begin.