Bush: Talk About Irresponsible
Wednesday - December 26, 2007
In these the waning days of 2007, let’s talk money: federal money, our money, responsibly and irresponsibly spent money.
Last week George W. Bush was filling his pens and checking over the spending bill approved by both House and Senate - legislation that will fund federal programs and construction for the fiscal year ending in September 2008.
As usual, Hawaii does well: $533.6 million for military construction, $68 million for Native Hawaiian programs, $25 million for a biodefense laboratory, and $15.2 million for Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s rail transit system. Mahalo to the Uncles Dan, Uncle Neil and Aunty Mazie.
Just in time for Christmas, Hawaii will receive money to replace the sinking Arizona Memorial Visitors Center, money for a job training center at Maui Community College, for repairs to a Port Allen breakwater, for restoring Kawai Nui Marsh in Kailua.
And, of course, $2.7 million for maintaining Hawaii’s defense against an invasion of the brown tree snake from Guam.
There’s something for everyone, and because the legislation includes $70 billion for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush will gather the solons around him, talk warmly about bipartisanship and compromise, and sign the suckin’ bill.
Oh, at a subsequent press conference or speaking engagement, he will lecture congress about including “irresponsible addons” to the bill.
You know, “irresponsible add-ons” like that $2.7 million those Democrats from Hawaii snuck in there - again. Think of it, $2.7 million to keep a little harmless snake that the folks in Guam have lived with for decades out of Hawaii. All it’ll do is eat all the birds, quiet their endless chirping and scare the living $%^&@ out of the tourists.
The gall of Bush. The great English professor in the sky should strike “responsible” from George W’s vocabulary, limited as it already is.
To date Bush has spent close to half-a-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq alone - $478,881,732,414 as I write - but significantly more by the time you read this.
He’s doing it at the rate of $275 million per day. Got that? Per day. So what’s your share - my share? To date, $4,100 per household.
There are, of course, other costs: nearly 4,000 United States soldiers killed and another 60,000 wounded. Add 700,000 Iraqis killed and 4 million more driven from their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries.
I’m sure there’s a dollar amount that some cold-blooded bean counter could put on all of this maiming, death and dislocation, but it’s beyond my reckoning.
And what has all this money and bloodshed achieved? The discovery and destruction of those “weapons of mass destruction?” Nope. The achievement of a workable democracy Iraq? Far, far from it.
No. What we did was topple a third-rate tyrant and force ourselves into maintaining a 160,000 strong police force made up of our young men and women in a land far, far away.
Where have the dollars and cents part of this cost gone? To companies like Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton and to the private security companies run by Republican friends of the administration - among other unworthies.
“Irresponsible add-ons?” I’m afraid at this stage in his administration, George W. Bush has no credibility when it comes to “irresponsible” spending of any type: brown tree snakes, bridges, transit systems, whatever.
As he lectures others and wields his newly found veto pen during these last months of his administration, remember that when Bush entered office in 2001 the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. There was also talk of erasing the national debt: the Clinton administration and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress had run significant budget surpluses for several years.
Bush has combined overseas military adventurism, huge tax cuts that benefit primarily the wealthy, a compliant Congress and plain fiscal incompetence to grow the national debt to $9.13 trillion. And he’s adding $1.4 billion to it every single day.
“Irresponsible add-ons.” Heh! Bush’s budgets are irresponsible to the core.
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