Monday, February 07, 2005

Bad news and worse news

Bad news

AP (Alan Fram via ABC News) is reporting that Bush’s budget will be the most draconian yet. The Beast is starving the people. Some of the lowlights:
The details obtained Saturday are the latest in a budget that will also seek savings from programs ranging from Amtrak and farmers' subsidies to Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled.

According to figures obtained by the AP, Bush would slice a $600 million grant program for local police agencies to $60 million next year. Grants to local firefighters, for which Congress provided $715 million this year, would fall to $500 million.

[. . . ]

The Environmental Protection Agency's $8.1 billion would drop by $450 million, or about 6 percent, with most of the reductions coming in water programs and projects won by lawmakers for their home districts.

The Bureau of Indians Affairs would be sliced by $100 million to $2.2 billion. The reduction would come almost entirely from the agency's effort to build more schools.

The $2.2 billion program that provides low-income people in large part the elderly with home-heating aid would be cut to $2 billion. . .

The park service's budget would drop nearly 3 percent to $2.2 billion, largely due to a reduction in its construction account.
On AP’s “plus” side we find the following:
Bush will seek about 5 percent more, or about $600 million, for the $12.8 billion program for low-income area school districts. Last year, he requested a $1 billion increase.

Defense Department documents obtained Friday show the Pentagon's budget would grow by 4.8 percent to $419.3 billion $3.4 billion less than he planned to seek for 2006 a year ago.
Let’s see now. Low income school districts get another a whole 5%, or $600 million (it’s a good thing there aren’t many of them and they don’t need much individually), but the poor Defense Department has to make do with a smaller increase of only 4.8%, which in this case amounts to a paltry $19.2 billion (that's an increase of $19.2 billion).

Oh, and the Coast Guard will also make out well:
The Coast Guard now part of the Homeland Security Department will get $8.1 billion, $600 million over this year. Included will be a healthy increase for its plans to buy more oceangoing vessels, a boon to the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in whose state many of the ships are built.
Worse news

OK, enough complaining. Things could be worse. And according to a story in The Independent that’s just what to expect. I’ll just pull the first two paragraphs to give you the bitter flavor. You can read the gory details for yourself via the link:
Future historians, looking back from a much hotter and less hospitable world, are likely to play special attention to the first few weeks of 2005. As they puzzle over how a whole generation could have sleepwalked into disaster - destroying the climate that has allowed human civilisation to flourish over the past 11,000 years - they may well identify the past weeks as the time when the last alarms sounded.

Last week, 200 of the world's leading climate scientists - meeting at Tony Blair's request at the Met Office's new headquarters at Exeter - issued the most urgent warning to date that dangerous climate change is taking place, and that time is running out.