The President’s budget for 2011 has been unveiled. What’s news is not what’s in it, but what’s not: $3.5 billion out of the GAO estimated $97 billion needed to send former President Bush back to the moon by 2020. Worthy goal? Undeniable. Priority at a time of record deficits, unspeakable unemployment and in the midst of two wars? Hardly.
Sure, you might say, “Hey, this is a jobs program. This will cost Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico big time and the hurt will spread to Congressional districts all over. Plus, we need Lockheed, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney’s stock strong.” Yeah, politicos hate the idea of ever stopping a Federal jobs program. It will be a big fight. One, I suspect, that might provide leverage for some savvy bi-partisan-don’t-wannabes to sell their vote for something deemed worthy.
But just wait, there’s more news to hit the fan – another $5 billion in cuts is buried on the OMB’s web site. Popular programs that affect the DOE’s historic whaling program, Pentagon procurement of even more C-17’s it doesn’t want, many programs that are duplicates of other programs, tax subsidies that are used to pretend that we are developing something commonly known by its oxymoronic name, “clean coal”, payments to store peanuts and cotton, EOC grants for emergency preparedness in areas that will never ever be at risk, subsidies to pay banks to be the profitable middle man for student loans, Pentagon programs for weapons that have been determined to not work and never will, grants to worsted wool manufacturers, countless demonstration programs that have demonstrated they don’t work, and repeal of subsidies to the oil and gas industries. When critics were calling for the President to present a responsible budget, they were looking for cuts in help for the poor and sick. Not the connected and wealthy. This budget, if you’ll pardon the pun, will never fly.