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Old 12-08-2003, 10:52 AM
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Default Bush Presides Over Biggest Growth in U.S. Spending Since 1990

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news...d=aiq1gJbXx4Lw

Bush Presides Over Biggest Growth in U.S. Spending Since 1990
Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush is presiding over the biggest growth in U.S. government spending since 1990, as a Republican-led Congress provides money for programs ranging from the fight against terrorism to a dried plant exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.

Federal spending rose 7.3 percent to $2.2 trillion in fiscal 2003 and 7.9 percent the year before, the most since George H. W. Bush was in the White House. Congress will vote this week on a $328 billion bill to fund such projects as an $18 billion loan guarantee for an Alaska gas terminal that may benefit ConocoPhillips Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

The spending threatens Bush's pledge to cut the federal budget deficit in half by 2008, said Robert Bixby, policy director at the Concord Coalition, which advocates a balanced budget. The deficit hit a record $374 billion in the year ended Sept. 30 and is projected by the White House to widen to $475 billion this year. Government spending and Bush's tax cuts also helped the U.S. economy grow 8.2 percent in the third quarter.

``The big boom you're having right now might not be sustainable if the deficit continues to be large,'' said Steven Hess, an analyst with Moody's Investors Service.

The U.S. government's credit rating may be in jeopardy in the next decade unless lawmakers limit spending and reduce the deficit, Hess said. Merrill Lynch & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc economists say White House projections are too low. They forecast the fiscal 2004 shortfall may be at least $600 billion.

Reagan's Example

After the 2004 election, Bush may follow the pattern established by former President Ronald Reagan, who in his second term held the lid on defense spending and allowed tax revenue increases, said Bill Frenzel, a Brookings Institution scholar who led Republicans on the House Budget Committee during a 20-year congressional tenure.

``It may be that George Bush after re-election will have the same epiphany that Reagan had,'' Frenzel said.

Reagan won a second term in 1984 with 58.8 percent of the vote after government spending increased by more than 8 percent a year in his first three years in office. Richard Nixon also won a second term after spending rose by higher percentages each year of his first term, reaching 9.8 percent in 1972 when he won with 60.3 percent of the vote.

By contrast, Bush's father slowed the growth in spending from 9.6 percent in 1990 to 4.3 percent in the 1992 election year and raised taxes after inheriting debts from Reagan's years in office, breaking his promise for ``no new taxes,'' and losing a re-election bid. Bush won't make the same mistake, said Stan Collender, an analyst at Fleishman-Hillard in Washington.

``One of the reasons the president is speaking loudly and carrying a small stick on spending is because it will stimulate the economy,'' Collender said. ``If it has a long-term deficit impact, what does he care? He only has to get through the next election.''

Election Year

Congress and Bush lack the resolve for belt-tightening next year with a third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives and the president running for re-election, said Bill Sullivan, chief economist at Morgan Stanley in New York.

``We're headed into an election year, and there's no evidence that Bush or anyone on the Democratic side of the ledger will advocate a sharp cutback in spending,'' Sullivan said.

Democratic presidential candidates have criticized Bush's fiscal record and tax cuts. Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, Senator John Kerry and Representative Richard Gephardt outlined plans to eliminate deficits, including restoring ``pay as you go'' rules that lapsed under Bush. Those requirements forced Congress to offset new spending with tax increases and cuts in other programs.

Congress approved new spending in November to cover the next 10 years, including $395 billion for Medicare prescription drug coverage and $22 billion for veterans' benefits, plus $340 million more a year to prevent wildfires.

Military Money

The Army has been granted $1.5 billion for a Future Combat System managed jointly by Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp. as a down payment on a $92 billion family of armored vehicles, robots and aerial drones that will be the No. 2 Pentagon program.

Bush also is pushing for an energy bill, intended to reduce U.S. dependence on the resources of other nations, that stalled in the Senate last month. The funding for that bill has grown in Congress to $31 billion, almost quadruple the amount Bush requested.

``The deficit is manageable, but no one in Congress or the White House is doing anything to manage it,'' said Bixby, of the Concord Coalition.

Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who heads the Commerce Committee, said the Medicare bill will cause the 38-year- old program ``to go broke,'' and the energy bill is ``just one pork-barrel project larded on to another.''

Hometown Projects

Lawmakers secured about $24 billion in taxpayer money for hometown projects in the fiscal 2004 budget, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington group. That's a record, equal to the combined budgets of the Justice Department, Small Business Administration and National Science Foundation.

Bush has criticized lawmakers for funding hometown projects, such as $400,000 for the New York Botanical Garden's virtual herbarium, a collection of dried plants. Still, Bush has never vetoed a spending bill. The rising cost of such projects shows Congress lacks the will to cut spending, said David Williams, vice president of policy at Citizens Against Government Waste.

The Bush administration says deficits aren't high by historical standards. The fiscal 2003 deficit was the equivalent of 3.4 percent of gross domestic product. The highest the deficit has reached as a share of the economy was 6 percent in 1983.

Bush's deficit-curbing plan is to restrain spending other than defense and homeland security and use income tax cuts with the hope of helping businesses and boosting consumer spending that will in turn increase government revenue.

Bush's Stimulus Package

``The economic stimulus package that we passed out of the United States Congress is working,'' Bush said last week at a Pittsburgh fund-raiser, citing last quarter's growth figures.

Lingering deficits will mean higher borrowing costs for companies, consumers and the government, said Fleishman-Hillard's Collender, a former legislative aide for congressional Democrats.

Glenn Hubbard, a Columbia University professor and former Treasury Department official who helped shape Bush's tax-cutting policies, disputes the idea that deficits push up interest rates that can be a brake on the economy.

Bush will force a ``meaningful discussion'' about spending, probably after the 2004 election, and should focus on the Social Security retirement and Medicare insurance programs for seniors, which are projected to balloon in cost, Hubbard said.

`Unforgiving' Math

``The math is really unforgiving: you either address entitlements or raise taxes,'' he said.

Mandatory spending on Social Security, welfare and other continuing programs hit an all-time high in 2003 at 11 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Heritage Foundation. Much of the increase can be attributed to more people claiming social services, including unemployment benefits as 2.7 million manufacturing jobs have been shed during Bush's tenure.

The Heritage Foundation, whose support of limited government has made it a host for Republican officials, has done studies critical of Bush's appropriations. On a per-household basis, government spending rose to $20,300 per household, the first time since World War II it has topped $20,000 per household in current dollars, Heritage said.

``Congress will keep spending until voters make clear in an election they don't want runaway government spending,'' said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at Heritage. ``Republicans think that the road to re-election is through government spending. In 2002, they identified farmers as major swing voters and passed the biggest farm bill ever. In 2004, the senior vote is very important, and they passed the Medicare prescription drug bill.''

Defense of Spending

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, whose studies are usually cited by Democrats, says Bush kept his promise to hold spending that depends on annual appropriations from Congress to a 4 percent increase this year. Spending rose 3 percent, or about 1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, the center said. Over three years, discretionary spending rose an average of 8.7 percent under Bush compared with 4.2 percent a year in the last three years of the Clinton administration.

Most of discretionary spending increases happened early in Bush's presidency, as the country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and Congress spent more on domestic programs amid concern from the administration that paying down the national debt with Clinton-era surpluses too rapidly would disrupt capital markets, said Richard Kogan, an economist at the center.

Kogan argues that any future discretionary spending rollbacks would be offset by revenue lost through Bush's tax cuts, which his center opposed.

``We have an administration that favors all programs but doesn't finance them,'' he said.
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Old 12-08-2003, 01:12 PM
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Default Thanks Larry,

John McCain is Right!

"Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who heads the Commerce Committee, said the Medicare bill will cause the 38-year- old program ``to go broke,'' and the energy bill is ``just one pork-barrel project larded on to another.''

Get out the "vaseline"...............we're gonna need it!

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Old 12-08-2003, 02:39 PM
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Default Perhaps of Note:

That the new budget has a 12% increase for funding of DVA!! Hope that counts for something, other than continued whining, oh-woe-is-me handwrining, and ongoing anger, which is certain to cause an ulcer.
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:22 PM
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Default Shows how much you

REALY know about what a sorry state of affairs "your boy" GEE-FREAKIN-DUBYA has placed the DVA in so far, there SuperSmarty!

That glorious "12%" increase you so glowingly and gleefully refer to won't even KEEP UP with LAST years "requirements" to adequately fund the DVA! I thought you said you were "up to date" and had several "contacts" that were keeping you aware of just what in the hell was going on in Washington.............Evidently they MUST be part of that Whitehouse "gang" of propaganda "thugs" that are putting out nuthin BUT BULL$HIT that the RNC is puttin out.

ALL, every single one..........without question........of the Military Service Organizations...........VFW, DAV, AmVets, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, etc, etc.,...........are ON RECORD as those "continued whinners & handwringers" and full of "on-going anger" you so eloquently "describe"............. NOT JUST ME!

This latest "budget" is AT LEAST $1.3 BILLION S-H-O-R-T of what it will take to just keep up with LAST years "demand" (according to ALL those Service Organizations) on the health care "system" that George W. Bush "pledged" in his lieing, dishonest campaign promise that our veterans "deserve more" and "A promise made............should be a promise KEPT"!............His words, NOT mine. And oh, how "shallow" and less than truthful those words are ringing these days!

You and his cronies in the republican party can continue your attempts to use "propaganda" and mis-information and outright LIES and distortion to try cover up GEE-Dubyas' deception and failures to provide his "pledges"...................but, the TRUTH and FACTS of this administrations abhorrent and repugnant rejection of military veterans rights & benefits will go down in history as the most vile & dishonest treatment yet committed by a sitting President! And, it WILL NOT be forgotten by those of us who REALLY "give a $hit" about what our brothers and sisters are suffering through!



Your unbecoming and flippant disrespect for matters so grave and serious as this are just one more occasion that shows your 'true colors" with regards to your "blind" obediance to your distasteful and dishonest "leaders" course of action and treatment towards retired, disabled & sick military veterans and their families!

But........then again, I'm not surprised.

:cd:
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:42 PM
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Default Ho Hum

Some people would bitch if they were hanged (note the proper use of the proper verb) with a new rope. It is notable, for some that care to dwell in something other than their self-imposed septic pit of bile and hatred, that the 12% increase is the largest increase, percentage wise and $$ wise, but then again, who's counting? BTW: it's "whiners" - but then again, consider the source!!
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Old 12-09-2003, 02:55 PM
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Default Yeah, right!

Me and the VFW, the DAV, AmVets, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Legion, etc, etc,. ARE ALL just a bunch of "whiners" (how's that!) ...............surely NOT telling the T-R-U-T-H......like "your boy" Gee-Freakin-W".....huh?

But, then again...............just consider the "source" calling them (and ME) "whiners".

That's real smart there SuperSilly...........I suppose Bush and his "cronies" should be considered "truthful" with regards to this travesty of justice.......and ALL the Service Organizations are lieing and dishonest about this, right?

Gimmie a freakin break..............what are you folks smokin down there in Rio Linda land anyway, that Texas "loco-weed" or "wacky-tabacy"??

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"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war..........We have felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.........In our youth our hearts were touched with fire"

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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Old 12-09-2003, 04:26 PM
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Default 40 Years

After squandering countless opportunities in the past 40 years to rectify past injustices, repair anything that was broken, enact every conceivable entitlement, the Democrat party saw a Republican President enact into law a partial solution to the concurrent receipt problem. While certainly not perfect (but the, he asked, which law ever is??), the current new benefit goes a long way towards delivering to those veterans what should have been provided decades ago.

And with what looks like an ever-expanding economy, the potential for additional revenues will probably see even greater expansion of veteran benefits, or an acceration of CR benefits.

Now, go to your little poorly lit room, resume sucking your thumb, and reflect on your tacky manners!
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Old 12-10-2003, 08:55 AM
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Default Not perfect?? Not even adequate!

Let's see what just ONE Veterans Service Organization says about "your boys" VA Budget!
##########################################

WASHINGTON, /U.S. Newswire/ -- Thomas H. Corey, President of Vietnam Veterans of America, has called the whitewash of the decision by the House of Representatives and the President to cut $1.3 billion from the budget for veterans' health care "a slap in the face."

In a letter to Rep. Deborah Pryce, chair of the House Republican Conference, Corey wrote: "I read with a sense of dismay your report on all the good things the House and this President has done on behalf of veterans. Much of it stretches the truth.
"Yes, veterans' health care has received funding increases over the past few years," Corey wrote. "However, these increases have not kept pace with the increased demand at the VA medical centers, not to mention medical inflation. Because the budget for the VA's medical operations was flat-lined for the past three successive fiscal years, the amount being appropriated is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the users of the VA health-care system.

What would $1.344 billion mean to veterans health care?

Congress would have to seriously consider the new copayments and enrollment fees proposed by the Bush Administration in order to keep the system operating in the next fiscal year.

This means:

New priority 8 veterans would remain ineligible for VA services indefinitely

Priority 7 and 8 veterans would have an annual enrollment fee in addition to increased copayments for pharmaceutical drugs and primary care

Only veterans with highly rated service connected disabilities (greater than 70%) would be eligible for placement in VA nursing homes. This would eliminate the need for 5000 nursing home beds from the system.

In year one VA may have to disenroll at least 168,000 veterans.
There would be no additional funds available to implement the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act to work toward the goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in a decade.

The current Capital Assets Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) exercise that VA is undertaking to assess the best use of its physical infrastructure will become a "de facto" closure commission with no ability to respond to veterans' needs for primary care, long-term care, and mental health projected by its own models.

$1.344 billion =

about 9,000 doctors or 19,000 nurses

about 6.6 million outpatient visits

870,000 hospital bed days of care

2 million psychiatric bed days of care

9 million nursing home bed days of care

all of VA's top-twenty priorities major construction projects (totaling about $600 million) which include desperately needed seismic and modernization projects and projects to ensure patient and employee safety

What would $463 million cuts in mandatory spending mean to veterans benefits?

Congress would have to seriously cut the benefits paid to men and women who are disabled as a result of military service. Cash benefits paid to veterans who have disabilities incurred or aggravated during military service comprise the vast majority of VA?s budget for mandatory programs. Ninety percent of the mandatory spending the Budget Committee proposes to cut is from cash payments to service disabled veterans, low-income wartime veterans and their survivors.

Other programs funded with mandatory spending are the Montgomery G.I. Bill education benefits, vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs for service-disabled veterans, subsidies for VA home loans and insurance for service-disabled veterans and funds to provide headstones, markers and flags for deceased veterans.

Even if all burial benefits, including flags and markers were eliminated to meet the Budget Committee resolution, funding for benefits for living veterans would need to be dramatically cut.

#########################################

And, this is just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg".....................because with the "war" in Iraq still raging, more and more of this nations young men and women in the military will be in dire need of the Veterans Administration health care system and benefits! Not to mention the current veterans and their dependents who continue to suffer at the hands of an overburdened and underfunded system!

So you see SirSuperSilly, your proclamations of glory and praise for your "compassionate conservative" leader...GEE-W will continue to be just so much bombastic rhetoriic and distorted, deceptive denials of the TRUTH So says the Viertnam Veterans of America, DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc., etc............AND ME!!!!

How can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror each morning knowing that you support a president who has forsaken the very folks who help elect him, the military veteran community??? You should hang your head in shame!

:cd: :cd:
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Old 12-11-2003, 08:45 AM
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Default Here's MORE for you to "digest" there SuperSilly!

Making the Troops Pay Twice
Indianapolis Star (op-ed)

If you notice there are more veterans to honor this Veterans Day than there were last year, thank the Bush administration and the Republican Congress.

If you want more help for those veterans, better ask the Democrats.

They're fighting President Bush, the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the GOP congressional leadership just to keep a shamefully inadequate veterans support system from getting worse.

When Democrats tried to insert health insurance and other personnel benefits into the $87 billion appropriation for Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House shot them down.

When Democrats tried to replace $1.3 billion of the $1.8 billion shortfall in the pending VA health care budget bill, the White House threatened a veto.

On and on it goes. Waits of six months to two years for some seekers of health care, even as the VA moves to close down facilities. Multiple hikes in drug co-pays. Exclusion of more than 160,000 "low-priority" vets from the health care system because the money's not there to cover them. Non-mandatory funding, meaning the budget must be fought for anew every year by those who care.
* * *

Rep. Fazio speaks out on the reality of the treatment of veterans
Statement from the Floor of the House

In a five-minute statement from the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran, rebuts the Republican notion that the Bush administration is doing great things for veterans. Here is an excerpt of his remarks.

Mr. Speaker, next week is November 11. And often, I believe, in this Chamber we pay lip service to our veterans; and we fail to deliver on solid votes and programs that would better demonstrate our recognition of their sacrifice and service. And this year, unfortunately with the budget and the appropriations passed, is no exception.

I was astonished earlier today when a colleague from the Republican majority stood up to pretend to document how great things are for our veterans, all these new services and things we are providing. I am hearing a very different assessment from my veterans and their dependents. And facts are stubborn things. [...]

Now we either believe in the all-volunteer military or we do not. And we are either going to recognize the sacrifice and service of veterans or we will not. And if we do not, probably the next generation is not going to want to enlist for what is a very tough and today very bloody and dangerous job because they are not quite sure of the promise that we will take care of them and we will take care of their families and their dependents.

A few other problems. Rather than funding the VA, the Bush administration sent a memo to regional VA facilities that forbid Veterans Administration employees from proactively informing veterans about the services available to them in order to reduce the number of veterans using VA facilities.

That is supportive. Is that not great?

* * *

Support the Troops
The New York Times (op-ed)

One of George W. Bush's major campaign themes in 2000 was his promise to improve the lives of America's soldiers - and military votes were crucial to his success. But these days some of the harshest criticisms of the Bush administration come from publications aimed at a military audience.

For example, last week the magazine Army Times ran a story with the headline "An Act of 'Betrayal,' " and the subtitle "In the midst of war, key family benefits face cuts." The article went on to assert that there has been "a string of actions by the Bush administration to cut or hold down growth in pay and benefits, including basic pay, combat pay, health-care benefits and the death gratuity paid to survivors of troops who die on active duty."

At one level, this pattern of cuts is standard operating procedure. Just about every apparent promise of financial generosity this administration has made (other than those involving tax cuts for top brackets and corporate contracts) has turned out to be nonoperational. [...] Why shouldn't soldiers find themselves subject to the same kind of bait and switch?

* * *

President's Spending for Ex-Soldiers Falls Short of Promise to Give Them "Priority" Treatment....

Two years ago, President Bush said, "Veterans are a priority for this administration... and that priority is reflected in my budget."

But, a year ago, when he had a chance to approve an emergency funding bill that included $275 million for medical care of veterans, he said, "We'll spend none of it."

Now the President's 2004 budget request for the Veterans Administration will effectively cut spending for its already-stretched health care system. Because of increased medical costs at an above-inflation rate of 4.7% and increased enrollment of 18%, the American Legion calculates that Bush's 2004 request "comes $1.9 billion short of maintaining an inadequate status quo."

* * *

Vets: Politicians failed us
Florida Today

At a time when virtually every politician talks about supporting the troops in Iraq, few do anything to support the troops who have fought previous wars, veterans say.

Two issues have dominated debates over veterans affairs in recent years:

-- Health care for veterans and military retirees.

-- Retirement pay for disabled veterans.

While the number of veterans has been dropping in recent years as World War II vets pass away, the number of patients at Department of Veterans Affairs has increased with the aging of Korean- and Vietnam-era vets. In 2002, there were 4.7 million veterans enrolled in the VA health system, up from 3.1 in 1997, for an increase of thirty-five percent (35%)!

* * *

Military benefits issue draws protest
Associated Press

Senior Republicans on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee have joined Democrats and veterans groups protesting proposals being considered by the Bush administration to shrink the number of military personnel who qualify for disability benefits.
Changes in the definition of service-connected disability "could have far-reaching and unintended consequences for millions of servicemembers and veterans," wrote the committee chairman, Representative Christopher Smith, Republican of New Jersey, and three of the panel's subcommittee chairmen.

The Senate's top Democrats, minority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and whip Harry Reid of Nevada, weighed in on the issue yesterday, telling President Bush in a letter that it was "outrageous to pit one group of disabled veterans against another."

Daschle said the proposals, if retroactive, could disqualify about 1.5 million veterans, about two-thirds of those now in the VA disability program.

The proposals were part of a response to what veterans regard as a century-old injustice without adding another major chunk to a federal deficit, already at record levels because of the war on terror, operations in Iraq, and tax cuts every year since Bush took office.

* * *

So you see SuperFella, you have many, many, many reasons to feel shame and disgust towards your "choice" to lead this country. And, don't you worry................I'll have MORE for you later if THIS isn't enough to make you SICK!
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"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war..........We have felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.........In our youth our hearts were touched with fire"

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