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Bush Tax Cuts Hurt Nation's Security
April 20, 2004
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 include:

  • A cut of $18.3 million in the Border Patrol budget. The administration has turned down requests for 1,000 more agents.

  • 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 include:

  • 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 let down.

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