Note: This essay is crossposted from BlueRage and was first published before the actual presentation of the budget to Congress. We’ve had some time to see what it contains and we’ve already heard that it is pretty much DOA. It’s a lame-duck’s final quack with nothing for anyone. The issue, “guns or butter,” is not going away and will only heat up as crunch time for the budget approaches this summer. So..The Post:
It’s time to show our “support for the troops.” The guns or butter debate will heat up in Congress over the budget for next year. It seems that in order to support our 600 BILLION dollar defense budget, we face cuts in so-called “entitlements.” The choice will become clear that we at home, through cuts in the social services that support US, will be asked to sacrifice so that our military will continue to be the biggest, baddest, and most expensive in the world. American Progress reports:
Next week, President Bush is expected to call for deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in this year’s budget, as lawmakers will have to work to “spare doctors from a 10 percent cut in Medicare fees that would otherwise take effect on July 1.”
What other sacrifices will our President and the Congress ask from us in the coming year? (A more specific list can be found here.) Will we be asked to give up health care services? Will we be asked to carry more of the burden of Medicare and Medicad? Will we be asked to live with an infrastructure that is ever more worn and fragile? Will we be asked to sacrifice the environment in order to create new energy sources? Will more veterans be forced into even greater sacrifices as they try to heal themselves from war? How many will be asked to sacrifice their homes as the morgage lenders and banks scurry to cover their losses?
Here’s the sacrifice I wish we as a nation could make: Couldn’t we sacrifice a fraction of our military budget to alleviate both our suffering and the suffering in the world? Couldn’t we sacrifice a no-bid contract or two in order build high-quality levees in New Orleans, or to help the poverty level residents to return to their homes? How about a true attack on poverty, hunger, and homelessness in America? Why do we have to sacrifice so many things that would increase the quality of life in America to maintain our militaristic society? Who will even raise this issue? Courage anyone?