There are always winners and losers...
The LA Times has an article on the budget process that starts with:
For years, government has been about singling out winners for favored treatment in spending and tax policy. That era is about to end — and the change could be painful.
The budget surpluses of 1998 to 2001 enabled Washington to make funds available for such favored causes as domestic security, medical research and prescription drugs under Medicare. The government also slashed taxes for a variety of groups, including two-earner couples and the wealthy.
But the surpluses have turned into record deficits. President Bush is not about to take back his tax cuts, but in setting spending levels in the budget that he will deliver to Congress in the new year, he will single out a loser — perhaps several — for every winner.
But they stop short of proclaiming exactly who the real winners and losers are, even though they pretty much already said it:
"President Bush is not about to take back his tax cuts..."
i.e. the weathly and corporations are the big winners here... who are the losers? The elderly and the poor:
Medicare and Medicaid are prominent on Bush's likely hit list.
Nelson said Medicare's hospital benefits had remained untouched while doctors' reimbursements were constantly threatened."The appearance is that the government is trying to solve Medicare's financial problems on the backs of the
nation's doctors," he said.
The ultimate losers, he said, would be the elderly insured by Medicare. Before Congress reversed the cuts scheduled for 2004 and 2005, he said, a survey
showed that 24% of family doctors would stop taking new Medicare patients if the
cuts held up.
Medicaid supporters — the nation's governors and antipoverty advocates — are using it in an effort to head off an expected proposal to scale back the federal share of the joint federal-state program of health insurance for the poor.
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said cuts were threatening Medicaid's ability to "rise to the occasion when the economy goes sour and more people lose their health insurance."
Got that? The economy goes south, and even though Bush guaranteed us that his tax cuts would be fine even if the economy hit the skids, we start to run a huge deficit. And how do we deal with all this? By cutting programs that are most important during tough economic times, because, ya know, the yachts of the rich are sacrosanct.
The cherry on top? Subterfuge:
Arguing that the costs are only vaguely known, budget writers may also decide not to include the outlays needed to cover the additional costs of the war in Iraq or the transition to proposed private Social Security accounts.