Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Lucky Me, I Hit the Trifecta!"

I've been saying for a long time now that the reason Republicans haven't been squawking about their main man Dubya's profligate ways is that it will eventually give them an excuse to cut the hearts out of numerous social programs that they've always hated. Naturally, they won't consider rolling back any tax cuts for the wealthy or cancelling any pork-built bridges for no one or cutting back on the billions wasted in corporate welfare or uncollected from American companies with sham offices in the Bahamas.

But with the war in Iraq literally bleeding billions and the toll for Katrina-related damage yet to be determined (but certainly in the tens or hundreds of billions, not to mention what Rita will add to that), it looks like the Grover Norquists of the country are about to realize their fondest dreams. From Salon's War Room comes this report, and tell me, is anyone out there really surprised at this? Anyone? Bueller...?

The Republicans would freeze funding for the Peace Corps, the Global AIDS Initiative, U.N. peacekeeping operations and a wide variety of third-world development programs; eliminate the EnergyStar program, eliminate grants to states and local communities for energy conservation, reduce federal subsidies for Amtrak, eliminate funding for new light-rail programs and cancel the president's hydrogen fuel initiative; eliminate state grants for safe and drug-free schools because "studies show that schools are among the safest places in the country and relatively drug free"; and eliminate the teen funding portion of Title X, which provides "free and reduced-price contraceptives, including the IUD, the injection drug Depo-Provera, and the morning-after pill" to poor teenagers.

Along the way, they'd find a way to punish -- or simply eliminate -- some of their enemies, real and imagined. They'd cut funding for the District of Columbia, eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, eliminate subsidized student loans for graduate students, terminate the Legal Services Corporation, eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and kill the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Of course, you can't balance the budget on the backs of PBS viewers, grad students and other outside-the-mainstream liberals alone. So the Republican plan also calls for "rational reforms to Defense and Homeland Security." Does this mean cutting weapons systems at the expense of big defense corporations? Well, no. But it does mean closing schools for the children of soldiers, cutting grants for local responders and offering National Guard members the "option" to purchase a less comprehensive healthcare plan.

These people make me ill. Is there a way to impeach the whole damn government?
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