The fun has started.
For some time we have known that the reason the alleged RepubLIEcans running the country don’t care about deficits is the Norquist Principle: by bankrupting the federal government they will have all the justification they need to end both Democratic programs and, by extension, the Democratic party.
Now comes a story in Slate noting that while domestic programs are being slashed, defunded, and discontinued (all in the name of “austerity”), the military budget is going up — not 4.8 percent, as Rumsfeld and Bush both claim, but 8 to 9 percent. And, if you throw in the cost of Iraq (another 80 billion or so), the increase is as much as 25 percent.
How are they doing this? By including only the 4.8 percent increase in the submitted budget, and getting the rest of it through “supplementals” — those emergency add-ons to the budget that are requested due to extenuating circumstances.
As Slate notes, supplementals are to be expected in times of war: it’s just not possible to predict the needs of war a year in advance. This time, though, the wise guys in the White House figured that the budget would get the scrutiny, while the supplementals would be ignored since they come later, so everything that wouldn’t fit in the publicly-palatable “small increase in time of war” would go in the supplementals.
Read the Slate article. It’s short, straightforward reportage. Compare the numbers. Then ask yourself — Aren’t you glad the Pentagon can spend $1 billion on Trident II missiles to blow up non-existent Soviet missile bunkers, even though that means the nation’s local police won’t get the $500 million they were promised for such things as upgrading communications equipment?