Tax Cuts Hurt Nation's Security
By Joe Fields
George W. Bush missed his calling. While his presidency is
being called into question on numerous fronts, his mastery
at the art of grand illusion ranks with the likes of Sigfried
and Roy and David Copperfield.
With skillful deception, the Great Bushdini created the
illusion which propelled us into a war seemingly without end.
He has effortlessly made three million jobs disappear. But
one of his greatest illusions was to trade our nation's security
for the benefit of a relative few wealthy Americans, while
making us feel we are actually safer. All it took was a few
magic words, a little sleight-of-hand, and voila - $1.3 trillion
in tax cuts.
But, like all illusionists, the Great Bushdini is a fraud.
As with everything else concerning his administration, there
were numerous bits of information he has neglected to tell
us. While he mesmerized us with tax cuts in one hand, the
other hand was busy cutting federal funding to states, forcing
them to negate income tax relief by raising property and sales
taxes. And those remedies still haven't been enough to make
up the difference in federal funding.
The master illusionist wowed Americans with the creation
of the Department of Homeland Security, to show us he was
serious about fighting terror on our own turf.
Yet, as we examine how this illusion was performed, we find,
with help from figures provided by the OMB and the National
Conference of State Legislators, that cuts in funding, which
profoundly affect our ability to fight and respond to terrorism
- A cut of $18.3 million in the Border Patrol budget.
The administration has turned down requests for 1,000
- Cuts totalling $253 million to the Border and Transportation
Directorate, which is in charge of securing our transportation
infrastructure. Currently, the Transportation Security
Administration has neither the proper funding, or a plan
to better secure our railways from acts of terrorism.
- $79 million slashed from the Port Security budget.
- $1 billion in funding cuts to law enforcement agencies.
- $245 million in cuts to firefighter grants.
- $233 million in cuts to the bioterrorism budget.
Unfunded and underfunded federal mandates to the states
- An $805 million shortfall in the First Responders budget.
- An estimated $10 billion unfunded mandate for interoperable
communication equipment for police, fire and medical personnel.
- A mandate for assessing water systems vulnerability.
The estimated cost is $900 million, for which there is
no federal funding.
- Smallpox vaccinations are underfunded by $100 million.
It was quite a trick making the Clinton budget surplus disappear,
then reappear in the pockets of the nation's wealthy. Too
bad the states who are facing a $29 billion gap in federal
funding for security aren't applauding. But then again, once
the tricks behind an illusion are revealed, we are always