President Bush and his Republican congress are trying to turn the Gulf Coast hurricane disaster into another feeding frenzy for Bush cronies at the expense of average Americans.
"Since 2001, Congress has passed tax and spending legislation totaling $1.7 trillion. Of that total, tax cuts for people who make more than $200,000 a year, the top 3 percent of the income ladder, have accounted for nearly 20 percent - or about $330 billion." New York Times, Sept. 19, 2005.
Rather than rescinding the approximate $330 billion "temporary" tax break for the wealthy, thus providing tax money to help rebuild New Orleans and southern Mississippi, the Republican Study Committee is suggesting that $225 billion be cut from Medicaid; $200 billion from Medicare; $6.7 billion from school lunches for poor children; $5.5 billion to eliminate all funding for public broadcasting; $3.6 billion to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities; $8.5 billion to eliminate all subsidized loans to graduate students; $2.5 billion cut from Amtrak; and the list goes on. Of course, Bush's core backers, the very rich, get off scot-free with their tax cuts which are off-limits in helping out hurricane victims. The average Joe gets stuck with the bill.
Another upside for Bush backers is that no-bid contracts to rebuild have gone out to the usual Bush beneficiary companies, such as Kellogg, Brown & Root, subsidiary of Halliburton, which has profited from its no-bid contracts in Iraq. Is this an example of the "free market," ballyhooed by Republicans, at work?
In every cloud there is a silver lining, and Bush Republican elitists are geared up to mine the debris of hurricanes Katrina and Rita by cutting programs that improve the lives of most Americans, but mean little to the minority who have no problem in paying for their health care, college tuitions, school lunches, transportation, and who can easily afford any cultural nourishment they desire.
If tax-funded programs for Americans are, in the jargon of neo-conservatives, "the beast," the Bush stratagem to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast provides an opportune ruse for Republicans, and pliable Democrats, to kill the beast and bury the bones.