Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thanks for the memories

Let's take a walk down memory lane, all the way to last night's State of the Union Address.

“We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science … bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms … and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.“

That is so yesterday. C'mon, get with the program. Tell me what's happening today!

The New York Times reports on what it calls a "close-fought victory [for] President Bush on the heels of his State of the Union address." The House of Representitives passed a bill would cut education spending by more than $16 billion between 2006 and 2010. Republicans cast it as an important step toward restraining programs that, they said, would gobble up the entire federal budget if left unchecked.

Hey! Isn't that the same excuse they used last year?

On December 21, 2005, in a 51-50 vote, the Senate approved nearly $40 billion in budget cuts, including cuts of $12.7 billion to federal student loans and nearly $7 billion in Medicaid funding as part of the Republican-sponsored Deficit Reduction Act (DRA). Five Republicans and independent Sen. Jim Jeffords (VT) joined all 45 Democrats in voting "no" on the measure, forcing Vice President Dick Cheney to cast the tie-breaking vote. The House approved the bill 216-214.

Have they forgotten so soon that the President has a program to deal with the federal deficit? Again, I quote from his State of the Union address: “I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.“ Translation: I want new tax cuts.

But that is not the only budget cutting measure up the President's sleeve. There's the whole, move the Iraqi war off budget, for instance. How much does that cost? Well, start with this item from a year ago. Nearly $9 billion of money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is unaccounted for because of inefficiencies and bad management, according to an inspector general's report.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!“

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